Global study on UN SC Resolution 1325 implementation press briefing held in Accra

Accra, April 28, 2016 – UNIC Accra has held a press briefing to present findings of the global study on the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.  The global study, titled, “Preventing Conflict, Transforming Justice, Securing the Peace” was launched in New York last October. The event in Accra was to share the findings of the report with local media and encourage their engagement and reportage on the subject.

Mrs Theodora Anti [left] briefing participants

Mrs Theodora Anti [left] briefing participants

Mrs. Theodora W. Anti of the Foundation for Security and Development in Africa (FOSDA) presented the report’s key messages, findings and recommendations to the media and representatives of various organisations including West African Network on Peace Building, Women, Peace and Security Institute and Coalition of NGOs Associated with UN-DPI.

A cross section of the audience

A cross section of the audience

Mrs. Comfort Asare of the Department of Gender of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection said as a member state of the United Nations, Ghana was obliged to prepare a country specific national plan of action (GHANAP 1325).  She said since 2012 when the plan was launched, the Department has been organizing fora to sensitize target audience and present an opportunity for participants to gain more understanding on the Plan of Action.

Prof. Ernest Aryeetey, Vice-Chancellor, University of Ghana, appointed a member to the United Nations University Council

Accra, 28 April 2016 – Prof. Ernest Aryeetey of the University of Ghana has been appointed a member to the governing Council of the United Nations University (UNU).

Prof Ernest Aryeetey

Prof Ernest Aryeetey

Prof. Aryeetey is one of 12 members appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Director-General Irina Bokova of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in accordance with Article IV of the United Nations University Charter.

In a statement attributable to the UN Secretary-General and issued in New York yesterday, the new appointees, will take office as of 3 May 2016.  They will replace the retiring 2010–2016 cohort of UNU Council members and will serve for terms of either three or six years.

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“They continue to express their anger against us,” a retired professor shares reflection on the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Students of Tema Community 7 Basic School in a drama performance on the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Tema, April 12, 2016 – Professor James Kwesi Anquandah, an ace retired professor of Archaeology has mentioned that most African descent in the diaspora continue to express their exasperation against Africans on the “barbaric enforced migration” their fore-fathers went through during the historic events of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. He made this remark during his keynote address at an event organized by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Accra to mark this year’s International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

“During the past century, there has been a burning desire for our African-American and Afro-Caribbean brothers and sisters to come back to their homelands. They love the American dollar but they prefer the freedom we now have in Africa; at least here in Ghana,” the renowned Archaeology professor said, adding that “Meanwhile, whenever they come on visits here for conferences or Emancipation Day Celebrations, they continue to express their anger against us, because, as they say, it was our ancestors who sold them into slavery.”

“How are we going to pacify them? I wonder!!!!!!”, he exclaimed.

On 25 March every year since 2007, the UN observes the International Day as a tribute to the more than 15 million men, women, and children who suffered and died during the more than 400-year transatlantic slave trade, the largest forced migration in history.

This year’s theme is “Remember Slavery: Celebrating the Heritage and Culture of the African Diaspora and its Roots.”

Speaking on the theme, Prof. Ankwandah, who also served as the Chairman of the Research Unit of the National Slave Route Project, shone the light on the contributions and legacy of African Descents in the World and how their achievements inspire heroic activities of Africans.

“It is Evident that New World peoples of African Descent have made significant contributions to world civilizations, and continue to so. There are thousands of examples of Black Engineers, Medics, Writers, Artists, Inventors, Historians, and Statesmen who bear witness to this. Some of them inspired modern Africans such as Kwame Nkrumah, to launch Pan Africanism and the struggle for independence in Africa,” he recounted.

“Moreover, the fact that the Ark of Return Memorial was built at the initiative of the African Union, and the Caribbean Community and was designed by a Haitian American, Rodney Leon, itself underscores the determination of 20th/21st century Africans and people of African descent, to make a solemn pledge that never again should Africa endorse any repetition in its lands or elsewhere of the despicable economic system perpetrated in the slave traffic”, he stressed.

The National Information Officer of UNIC Accra, Ms. Cynthia Prah read the UN Secretary-General’s message. It highlighted the African diaspora’s contributions to society, including culture, medicine, science and spirituality, as the global community gathered to honour the millions of Africans forcibly exploited by slavery.

She also admonished the youth to embrace peace, tolerance, and compassion towards one another.

Over 300 students from Central University, University of Ghana, and Tema Community ‘7’ Basic School participated in the event which comprised an educational outreach (colloquium), exhibition and a film screening.

Representatives from UNESCO and Central University also took turns to enlighten students on the significance of the Slavery Remembrance Day.

Student participants prepare for UNIC Accra’s event to mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Prof. Ankwandah making an address on the theme at UNIC Accra's event to mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Prof. Ankwandah making an address at UNIC Accra’s event to mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Cross-section of participants during UNIC Accra's event to mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Cross-section of participants during UNIC Accra’s event to mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Participants 1-min

Cross-section of participants during UNIC Accra’s event to mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Cross-section of participants during UNIC Accra's event to mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Cross-section of participants (students) during UNIC Accra’s event to mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Cross-section of participants during UNIC Accra's event to mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Cross-section of participants during UNIC Accra’s event to mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Participants light candles to honour Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade during UNIC Accra's event to mark the International Day

Participants (dignitaries) light candles to honour Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade during UNIC Accra’s event to mark the Day

Participants light candles to honour Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade during UNIC Accra's event to mark the International Day

Participants light candles to honour Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade during UNIC Accra’s event to mark the International Day

Opening of a 6-day exhibition on "Africans in India: From slaves to generals and rulers"

Opening of a 6-day exhibition on “Africans in India: From slaves to generals and rulers” during UNIC Accra’s event to mark Slavery Remembrance Day

UNIC Accra NIO takes participants through the poster exhibits on "Africans in India: From slaves to generals and rulers"

UNIC Accra NIO takes participants through the poster exhibits on “Africans in India: From slaves to generals and rulers”

UNIC Accra NIO takes participants through the poster exhibits on "Africans in India: From slaves to generals and rulers"

UNIC Accra NIO takes participants through the poster exhibits on “Africans in India: From slaves to generals and rulers”

UNIC Accra NIO takes participants through the poster exhibits on "Africans in India: From slaves to generals and rulers"

UNIC Accra NIO takes participants through the poster exhibits on “Africans in India: From slaves to generals and rulers”

Some student performers at the of the Exhibition "Africans in India: From slaves to generals and rulers"

Some student performers at the of the Exhibition “Africans in India: From slaves to generals and rulers”

Screening of the film, "Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess"

Screening of the film, “Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess”

 

Remembering Rwanda: UNIC Accra educates students on lessons of the genocide

Accra, April 11, 2016 – Over 100 students from the University of Ghana participated in an outreach programme organized by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Accra to mark the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda.

This year’s commemoration was on the theme, “Fighting Genocide Ideology”.

UNIC Accra NIO addressing participants

Ms. Cynthia Prah, National Information Officer of UNIC Accra provided a brief background of the Rwanda Genocide and shared testimonies of survivors’ with students. She advised students to avoid engaging in activities and utterances that incite division and violence. She also read the UN Secretary-General’s message.

The message noted that genocide is not a single event, and part of a process that takes time and preparation.

“One of the key warning signs is the spread of hate speech in public discourse and the media that targets particular communities,” it read.

The participants took turns to ask questions and share ideas on the role of youth in preventing genocide.

A student participant shares knowledge on genocide

In 1994, more than 800,000 people were systematically murdered throughout Rwanda. The vast majorities were Tutsi, but moderate Hutu, Twa and others were also targeted.

On 23 December 2003, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution (A/RES/58/234) designating 7 April, the start date of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, as the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda. Every year, on or around that date, the United Nations organizes commemorative events at its Headquarters in New York and at United Nations offices around the world.

Candle light session to honour Rwanda Genocide victims

Remember Slavery: Students in Accra interact with audiences in 3 African countries

Accra, March 24, 2015 – Some 25 students of Alpha Beta Christian College, a private school in Accra, have had the opportunity to engage with audiences from Lagos, Nairobi and Lusaka via video conference as part of a joint UNIC effort in observance of International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The nearly 3-hour video conference was to enable students gain a better understanding of the influence of slavery on our world and encourage them eschew prejudice and racism.

Students during the video conference

Students during the video conference

The students from Accra were joined by a representative from UNESCO, Mr. Carl Ampah and a lecturer in Archaeology from the University of Ghana, Prof. James Anquandah.

The students were extremely active and asked a lot of questions on the usefulness of the commemoration of the day and its influence in fighting racism and prejudice in our modern world. They unanimously welcomed the idea

Students during the video conference

Students during the video conference

of traveling to Nairobi to have a longer and an interactive session with students in that country in the future.

The video conference on Slavery is a regular event initiated by DPI for UNIC Accra and selected UNICs.

In a related development, UNIC Accra, in collaboration with Central University, Ghana, will have a student forum, poster exhibition and a film screening tomorrow, April 12 as part of Remember Slavery events in Accra. FLYER Front

UN Human Rights Office announces winners of children’s poster competition

GENEVA –The UN Human Rights Office has announced winners of a poster contest for children to illustrate what freedom means to them.

The competition is part of a year-long campaign by the Office to mark the 50th anniversary of two core human rights treaties, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Alexandria Slaven

Alexandria Slaven’s poster

Alexandria Slaven, 11, from Samoa is the winner of the 5 to 11 age group with a picture depicting people holding hands and standing by a luxuriant coconut tree. “My poster illustrates how freedom comes with responsibilities and children and adults should understand this,” Alexandria wrote to explain the design. “The growing coconut tree with various rights and freedoms written on it symbolizes the growth of a person.”

Eiza Abid 's poster

Eiza Abid ‘s poster

Winner of the 12-18 age group is 15-year-old Eiza Abid from Pakistan, whose illustration uses both dark tones and bright colours to represent freedom of thought. “My painting personifies the darkness and confinement within a person’s life and once the person is set free from the pressures and judgement of others, one can freely express their thoughts and imagination in their true colors, illustrating their unique vision and bright outlook,” Eiza wrote.  Read further.

Call for Questions from Civil Societies: Dialogue with Candidates for the Position of UN SG

Accra, March 15, 2016 – The United Nations will this year begin the process to select and appoint its next Secretary-General.  The process of soliciting candidates for the position has already started and the General assembly has received seven (7) candidates as at February 29, 2016 (http://www.un.org/pga/70/sg/).

By resolution 69/321 of September 2015, the UN General Assembly decided to conduct informal dialogues or meetings with candidates for the position of Secretary-General. The meetings are expected to provide candidates with an opportunity to present their candidatures and Members States with an opportunity to ask questions and interact with them. A letter from the Office of the President of the General-Assembly (OPGA) issued on February 25, 2016 indicates that this process “will be open and transparent as possible, with the considerable interest from the global public and civil society…”

To this end, the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) is facilitating a call for questions from civil society. The UN-NGLS will then convene a civil society Committee to review all questions submitted and create a short-list of 30 questions for the OPGA to select from for inclusion in the General Assembly dialogues. Selected questions can be presented in person, via video or audio recording, or read aloud by the President of the General Assembly during the dialogues.

Questions may be submitted by March 20, 2016 via Twitter (https://twitter.com/unngls/status/703758693842722816), Instagram, Weibo (www.weibo.com/unngls ), an online form (https://unngls.org/UNSGcandidates), and email (askSGcandidates@un-ngls.org).

For further information, visit http://unngls.org/index.php/80-home/2746-unsg-candidates 

Leaving No Woman In Ghana Behind, says UN Ghana

Accra, March 8, 2016 – Women and girls account for more than half of the world’s population. It is therefore not surprising that the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030, adopted in September 2015 by over 190 Member States of the United Nations, position women and girls at the centre of each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that make up Agenda 2030.

As we commemorate International Women’s Day 2016, with the theme “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step it up for Gender Equality” we are reminded to find innovative ways to accelerate the 2030 Agenda and build momentum for the effective implementation of the SDGs. The 2030 Agenda, among others, calls on member countries to ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality education, end all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere and eliminate all harmful practices, such as child-, early- and forced marriage.

In Ghana, the United Nations family’s message is “Leaving no woman in Ghana behind”.

Ms Christine Evans-Klock, Resident Coordinator, UN Ghana

Ms Christine Evans-Klock, Resident Coordinator, UN Ghana

The United Nations in Ghana thus calls on government and development partners and all of us to work together to ensure the inclusion of all underserved groups, including women and girls, in our development agenda, and for the effective implementation of the SDGs if we are to achieve the 2030 Agenda to end extreme poverty in all its forms, protect the planet, and ensure access to justice for all

“If we have to step it up for gender equality and make headway to achieve the 2030 Agenda, we must pay attention to underserved women” says Ms. Christine Evans-Klock, the UN Resident Coordinator. “We are talking about women with disabilities, vulnerable groups of girls and women, such as Kayaye, preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS, investing in our youth, especially girls, to make sure they are in school and remain in school.  We are talking about improving the productivity of women who toil the soil to grow what we eat and we are talking about ending child marriage” she added.

As we commemorate the International Women’s Day today, we call on all policy makers to make sure no one is left behind by drawing up plans that include everyone and ensuring that there are adequate human and financial resources to put those plans into action and monitor their impact.  A review of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action last year indicates that there has been a critical gap between those who draw up the commitments and those who carry them out.

This is the time to move commitment into action, this is the time for gender equality.

International Women’s Day, what is the United Nations saying?

Accra, March 8, 2016 – As we commemorate International Women’s Day 2016, with the theme “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step it up for Gender Equality” we are reminded to find innovative ways to accelerate the 2030 Agenda and build momentum for the effective implementation of the SDGs. The 2030 Agenda, among others, calls on member countries to ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality education, end all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere and eliminate all harmful practices, such as child-, early- and forced marriage.

Read about what some United Nations offices, agencies, funds and programmes are saying in this compiled excerpts from their messages.

INCB Report 2015 launched in Accra

Accra, March 2, 2016 – Ghana’s Interior Minister, Hon. Prosper Douglas Bani says the Government supports calls by the International Narcotic Control Board (INCB) to put health and welfare of people at the centre of drug policy.  In a remark, read on his behalf by the Deputy Minister for the Interior, Hon. James Agalga during the launch of the INCB report 2015, the Minister announced that the Narcotics Control Commission Bill (NCCB), which is before Parliament, will change the current status of the Narcotics Control Board into a Commission to give the state a certain flexibility in designing the appropriate punishment for drug related offenses.  Mr. Bani said, the NCCB will allow for a law enforcement system that would focus more on the health and welfare of people.

Deputy Minister Agalga

Deputy Minister Agalga launches the report on CD

On equitable access to proper pain relief treatment, the Minister said Ghana will work with other African countries to meet its goal of ensuring availability of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes. Currently, people in North America and Europe use almost 95 per cent of all pain relief medication consumed globally, a situation the Minister said is unacceptable.

The Executive Secretary of NACOB, Mr. Akrasi

Mr. Akrasi Sarpong, NACOB Exec. Sec

Mr. Akrasi Sarpong, NACOB Exec. Sec

Sarpong stressed on the need to relook at the country’s criminal law enforcement system that would allow efficient use of the country’s resources for drug control.  According to Mr. Sarpong, it makes more economic sense to dismantle a drug network than to spend huge sums of money to maintain minor offenders in prisons and detention centres. “Let us use the scarce resources and go after the big guys” he added.

A cross section of the audience

A cross section of the audience

Mr. Sarpong challenged the media to create the needed public space and platforms to engage the general public and discuss issues concerning drug abuse and use in the country.

The INCB report provides a comprehensive overview of drug control in various parts of the world. The 2015 report is published a few weeks ahead of the special session of the UN GA on the world drug problem, slated for April this year.

The Accra launch was organized by the Narcotics Control Board, Ghana in collaboration in the UN Information Centre, Accra.  Present at the launch were representatives of some security agencies, the Ghana Education Service of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration.  The report is available on the INCB website.