Secretary-General message on Human Rights Day, 10 December 2018

For 70 years, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been a global beacon – shining a light for dignity, equality and well-being … and bringing hope to dark places.

The rights proclaimed in the Declaration apply to everyone — no matter our race, belief, location or other distinction of any kind.

Human rights are universal and eternal.

They are also indivisible.  One cannot pick and choose among civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

Today we also honour the human rights defenders risking their lives to protect people in the face of rising hatred, racism, intolerance and repression.

Indeed, human rights are under siege around the world.

Universal values are being eroded.  The rule of law is being undermined.

Now more than ever, our shared duty is clear:

Let us stand up for human rights — for everyone, everywhere.

Thank you.

Secretary-General message on International Anti-Corruption Day 9 December 2018

“Corruption is present in all countries, rich and poor, North and South.

It is an assault on the values of the United Nations.

It robs societies of schools, hospitals and other vital services, drives away foreign investment and strips nations of their natural resources.

It undermines the rule of law and abets crimes such as the illicit trafficking of people, drugs and arms.

Tax evasion, money laundering and other illicit flows divert much-needed resources for sustainable development.

The World Economic Forum estimates that the cost of corruption is at least $2.6 trillion – or 5 per cent of global gross domestic product.

And according to the World Bank, businesses and individuals pay more than $1 trillion in bribes each year.

Corruption begets more corruption, and fosters a corrosive culture of impunity.

The United Nations Convention against Corruption is among our primary tools for advancing the fight.

Sustainable Development Goal 16 and its targets also offer a template for action.

International Volunteer Day recognizes volunteer’s contributions towards building resilient communities

The United Nations State of World’s Volunteerism Report 2018 launched today to mark the International Volunteer Day 2018 in Islamabad. Ignacio Artaza, Country Director of UNDP in Pakistan also announced the official launch of Pakistan volunteer awards to honour young men and women who are making extraordinary and selfless contributions to the society.

Nominations for these awards will be accepted from 1 January through end of February 2019.

5 December, International Volunteer Day (IVD)

There are over one billion volunteers across the globe dedicating their time and skills to helping others. Resilient Communities stand up against natural, economic and political stress on the foundations of volunteerism.

Every year on 5 December, International Volunteer Day (IVD), we celebrate and recognize volunteers and their contributions everywhere.

More on #IVD2018unv.org/internationalvolunteerday2018

Secretary-General message on International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3 December 2018

More than 1 billion people in the world live with some form of disability. In many societies, persons with disabilities often end up disconnected, living in isolation and facing discrimination.

In its pledge to leave no one behind, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development represents a commitment to reducing inequality and promoting the social, economic and political inclusion of all, including people with disabilities. That means implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in all contexts and in all countries. It also means integrating the voices and concerns of people with disabilities into national agendas and policies.

Today, the United Nations is issuing the UN Flagship Report on Disability and Development 2018 – Realizing the SDGs by, for and with persons with disabilitiesThe Report shows that people with disabilities are at a disadvantage regarding most Sustainable Development Goals, but also highlights the growing number of good practices that can create a more inclusive society in which they can live independently.

On this International Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to work together for a better world that is inclusive, equitable and sustainable for everyone, where the rights of people with disabilities are fully realized.

Secretary-General message on World AIDS Day, 1 December 2018

Thirty years after the first World AIDS Day, the response to HIV stands at a crossroads. Which way we turn may define the course of the epidemic—whether we will end AIDS by 2030, or whether future generations will carry on bearing the burden of this devastating disease.

More than 77 million people have become infected with HIV, and more than 35 million have died of an AIDS-related illness. Huge progress has been made in diagnosis and treatment, and prevention efforts have avoided millions of new contaminations.

Yet the pace of progress is not matching global ambition.  New HIV infections are not falling rapidly enough. Some regions are lagging behind, and financial resources are insufficient. Stigma and discrimination are still holding people back, especially key populations— including gay men and other men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgenders, people who inject drugs, prisoners and migrants—and young women and adolescent girls.  Moreover, one in four people living with HIV do not know that they have the virus, impeding them from making informed decisions on prevention, treatment and other care and support services.

There is still time — to scale-up testing for HIV; to enable more people to access treatment; to increase resources needed to prevent new infections; and to end the stigma.  At this critical juncture, we need to take the right turn now.

70th anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights: 4th edition of ‘Human Rights through Cinematography Film Festival’ kicks off in Islamabad

Islamabad, 25 November, 2018: Dedicated to the 70th anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 4th edition of the human rights film festival, hosted by the European Union kicks off at the Pakistan National Council of Arts, (PNCA) in Islamabad.

Aiming at providing a window to the universally human rights challenges to the Pakistani people, the festival presents 27 award winning documentaries on human rights issues from around the world, such as freedom of expression, gender equality, access to justice, minority rights and death penalty.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain graced the event as the Chief Guest. Continue reading

Promoting respect for diversity among children through puppet show

Islamabad, 14 November 2018: On the occasion of the International Students’ Day, the Embassy of the Argentine Republic organized a Puppet Show at the Argentine Embassy in Islamabad.

The show aimed at promoting respect for diversity and difference and offered an opportunity to bring together children from very poor, middle class and high-income backgrounds to respect one another and enjoy an art form that has a very long tradition in Pakistan. Continue reading