Month: August 2021 (Page 1 of 4)

United Nations marks first International Day for People of African Descent.

The United Nations on Tuesday celebrated the enormous contributions the African diaspora has made in every field of human endeavour, marking the first-ever International Day for People of African Descent.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for a greater commitment to advance the promise of equality, justice and dignity for all, in his inaugural message.    

“It is a long overdue recognition of the profound injustices and systemic discrimination that people of African descent have endured for centuries, and continue to confront today,” the UN Secretary-General said. 

“And it is an urgent call to action for everyone, everywhere, to commit to rooting out the evil of racism.” 

More than 200 million people in the Americas alone identify as being of African descent. 

Millions more are located worldwide outside the African continent. 

Whether as descendants of the victims of the transatlantic slave trade, or as more recent migrants, they are among some of the poorest and most marginalized groups, the UN said. 

Last December, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution establishing the International Day

The objective was “to promote greater recognition and respect for the diverse heritage, culture and contribution of people of African descent to the development of societies, and to promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms of people of African descent”. 

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Pope Francis calls for prayer, fasting for Afghanistan.

At the Angelus, Pope Francis calls Christians to show solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, especially women and children, the victims of violent attacks in recent days.

Let us continue to assist those in need“, he says, “and pray that dialogue and solidarity may lead to peaceful and fraternal coexistence.”

In a statement by Pope Francis:

“I am following the situation in Afghanistan with great concern,” Pope Francis said on Sunday, adding, “I share in the suffering of those who mourn for the people who lost their lives in the suicide attacks last Thursday, and of those who are seeking help and protection.”

Almost two hundred people were killed in the suicide bombing at Kabul’s airport last week, and thousands of people are still waiting desperately to flee to the country as the Taliban takes control of the war-torn nation.  

The Holy Father commended the souls of those who were killed “to the mercy of Almighty God.”

At the same time, he thanked those who are working to help the “sorely tried population” of Afghanistan, especially women and children.

“I ask everyone to continue to assist those in need,” the Pope said, “and to pray that dialogue and solidarity may lead to the establishment of peaceful and fraternal coexistence, and offer hope for the future of the country.”

Pope Francis insisted that “in historical moments like this we cannot remained indifferent,” and for Christians it is a duty to respond.

For this reason, he said, “I appeal to everyone to intensify prayer and practise fasting: prayer and fasting, prayer and penance.

Now is the time to do it.”

Adding emphasis to his appeal, he continued, “I’m serious: intensify prayer and practice fasting, asking the Lord for mercy and forgiveness”, according Vatican News.

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United Nations Security Council urges Taliban to provide safe passage out of Afghanistan.

The UN Security Council passed a resolution on Monday that calls for the Taliban to facilitate safe passage for people wanting to leave Afghanistan, allow humanitarians to access the country, and uphold human rights, including for women and children.

Thirteen of the 15 ambassadors voted in favour of the resolution, which further demands that Afghanistan not be used as a shelter for terrorism.

Permanent members China and Russia abstained.

Airport attack condemned

Member states condemned in the strongest terms the deadly blasts at Kabul airport on Thursday, which killed more than 150 people and injured upwards of 200 more. 

The terrorist group Islamic State in Khorosan Province claimed responsibility.

The attack targeted people fleeing Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban’s takeover two weeks ago, and international forces assisting the evacuations.

Thousands of Afghans have been trying to escape from the country ahead of the full withdrawal of the United States by its self-imposed Tuesday deadline, according UN News.

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UN chief calls for action to end enforced disappearances on International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has urged countries to fulfill their obligations to prevent and prosecute cases of enforced disappearance on International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.

The UN chief made the appeal in his message to mark the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, honouring victims of this serious human rights violation, observed on Monday.

Together, we can and we must end all enforced disappearances,” he said. 

A global problem

Enforced disappearance refers to the arrest, detention or abduction of persons by agents of the state, or those acting with state authorization or support, whose whereabouts are unknown.

Once largely the product of military dictatorships, it has become a global problem, according to the United Nations, with hundreds of thousands of people “disappeared” in more than 80 countries.

Impunity remains widespread.

While strictly prohibited under international human rights law, Mr. Guterres said enforced disappearance continues to be used across the world as a method of repression, terror, and stifling dissent.

“Paradoxically, it is sometimes used under the pretext of countering crime or terrorism.

Lawyers, witnesses, political opposition, and human rights defenders are particularly at risk,” he added, accoring UN News.

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United Nations: The ‘energy patriots’ bringing electricity to Indonesia’s remote villages.

For millions of villagers in Indonesia’s remote areas, a 12-hour-per-day erratic electricity supply is the norm.

With students studying by candlelight at night and health centres not running at full capacity, these communities face an uphill struggle to improve their well-being

But a recently launched UN-led initiative could change that, thanks to a group of Indonesians dubbed “energy patriots” who have been tasked to boost the use of clean energy resources, with the goal of improving access to healthcare, education and economic development in rural villages.  

An urgent need for clean energy

Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country, urgently needs clean energy capacity: the blistering pace of economic development over the past decade has lifted millions out of poverty, but it has also dramatically increased the demand for energy

The government has pledged to phase out all coal-fired power stations by 2055, but some 30 million people out of the country’s population or around 267 million do not have adequate access to electricity, according UN News.

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United Nations: Tokyo Paralympics lead towards a more inclusive society.

Innovators are joining Paralympians to discuss how sport can help to build a more inclusive society in a series of online discussions organized by the United Nations to coincide with the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, which continues until 5 September.

After losing her right leg in a car accident as a Japanese high school student, Kaede Maegawa was grateful when her friends offered her support.

Yet, she sometimes felt that she wouldn’t be capable of doing anything on her own.

In order to regain her confidence, she asked her friends and teachers to let her try do things on her own.

This started her on the road to becoming an elite athlete, and a competitor at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

Ms. Maegawa shares her story during SDG Zone at Tokyo panel discussion, in which three inspirational Paralympians talk about the power of sport to expand horizons, and what the Paralympic values – courage, determination inspiration, and equality, mean to them.

Ms. Maegawa, who competes in the long jump, is joined by renowned Sierra Leonean table-tennis para-athlete George Wyndham, and Miki Matheson, three-times Paralympic gold medalist in ice sledge speed racing.

Innovations featured in the Paralympics can eventually help all disabled people, explains Ken Endo, CEO of the technology company Xiborg, in a conversation highlighting technology, design, and initiatives that are making sport more accessible and enjoyable for all.

Mr. Endo leads a project to make a running-specific prosthesis called “blade” available for all, not only for athletes, and is working to break down various barriers, especially in developing countries, exploring how locally available materials can be used to develop blades and increase the number of people using prostheses.

The panel also features Lucy Meyer, Spokesperson for the Special Olympics-UNICEF USA Partnership, for young people with disabilities, and a five-times gold medal swimmer in the Special Olympics.

Ms. Meyer, who also has cerebral palsy, says that doctors told her parents that she wouldn’t be able to sit up or swallow but “we are so happy to report that the doctors were very wrong!”

She is very active in Special Olympics programme which enables children with and without disabilities to compete together in team sports.

“It’s important to me that everyone accepts and includes everyone, but especially people with disabilities, because we are no different.”

The last session of the SDG Zone at Tokyo looks at what sport can bring to the next generation, and how it can help societies to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, and improve, according UN News.

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The weather in the United Kingdom: the 2021 summer one of the warmest on record.

Higher than normal temperatures in Northern Ireland and Scotland have pushed the United Kingdom`s average towards the top 10 hottest summers on record, with temperatures amounting to around one degree warmer than average.

Global climate reports shows that 2020 was Europe‘s warmest on record by a large margin.

The year 2021 will probably even warmer than the year 2020.

The consequences of climate change are becoming more and more visible and confirmed by global science.

The World Government Movement believes the world leaders must do everything they can to stop global warming.

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Islamic State claims responsibility for terror attack Kabul airport; death toll at 103.

The Islamic State has officially claimed responsibility for the Kabul airport attack in Afghanistan that killed at least 103 people on Thursday.

Suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul’s airport, transforming a scene of desperation into one of horror in the waning days of an airlift for those fleeing the Taliban takeover.

The organisation’s affiliate in Afghanistan known as Islamic State Khorasan Province, had been pointed to as the prime suspect immediately after the blast.

The IS official Amaq news agency said on its Telegram channel that a member called Abdul Rahman al-Logari carried out “the martyrdom operation near Kabul Airport”.

The Pentagon has warned of more terror attacks in Afghanistan after the deadly airport bombing on Thursday in a statement.

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UN chief condemns terrorist blasts near Kabul airport in Afghanistan.

UN chief António Guterres condemned on Thursday the terror attacks around Kabul airport in Afghanistan and expressed his support for both the injured and the families of those who have been killed. 

“He condemns this terrorist attack which killed and injured a number of civilians… He stands in solidarity and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured”, UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told journalists.

Mr. Dujarric underscored that it was the responsibility of the de-facto authorities to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, including the airport.

According to media reports, suspected suicide bombers struck the Kabul airport gates with at least two explosions, leaving at least 13 people dead, including children.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, also reacted to the terrorist attacks.

“Today’s horrible bomb attack in Kabul, in addition to everything else, should make us all even more determined not to leave the Afghan people alone”, he said on his official twitter account.

Grandi added that now is the time to do more for Afghans at risk and in need, and for those who are displaced or refugees in neighbouring countries, according UN News.

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WHO chief: ‘coming months critical for future pandemic preparedness’.

The next three months will be a critical period for stepping up global collective action against future pandemics, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday, pointing to three major meetings on the international agenda

Although the COVID-19 caseload stabilized last week, after nearly two months of increases, the level remains high, said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus, speaking during his regular press briefing from Geneva. 

Cases have surpassed 4.5 million globally, with 68,000 deaths

“Some regions and countries continue to see steep increases in cases and deaths, while others are declining,” he reported.

As long as this virus is circulating anywhere, it’s a threat everywhere”. 

Preparing for future pandemics 

WHO is progressing on plans to strengthen global defense against future epidemics and pandemics, Tedros said. 

He pointed out that with the UN General Assembly in September, followed by the G20 Summit in October, and a special session of WHO’s governing body set for November, the next three months represent “a critical period for shaping the future of pandemic preparedness and response”, according UN News.

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