#BringBackOurGirls echoes at MDG Report 2014 regional launch in Lagos

15 July 2014

Students performing

The clamour for the save return of over 200 school girls abducted by Boko Haram insurgents at Chibok, Borno State, North-East Nigeria, on 14 April, 2014, was further reinforced during the regional launch of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Report 2014 held at the UN Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, as the students of Lagos State Model College, Kankon Badagry, in their drama presentation at the occasion, creatively displayed “Bring Back Our Girls” graphics which elicited a supportive expression from the audience.

“We are your daughters, mothers and leaders of tomorrow. We are born equal. ‘Boko’ is not ‘Haram’ (Education is not forbidden)”, they added in graphics. 

The students’ presentation titled, ‘One Goal’ was a dance drama interspersed with poetic renditions of the gains of the MDGs. Obviously enjoying the performance, the participants sang along and applauded the students intermittently as they sang, danced and acted simultaneously. It was electrifying and instructive. What an ‘infortainment’!

Harare Commemorates International Day in Solidarity with the Rwandan People

12 July 2014

On 12 July, Rwandan people living in Zimbabwe, Government Officials, diplomats and various United Nations agencies gathered at the Celebration Centre, Harare to remember lives lost and to honour and show solidarity with survivors of the Rwanda genocide.

The 1994 genocide saw over 800 000 Rwandan people brutally murdered in ethnic violence. The event has been commemorated ever since.

“Genocide means not just mass killing, but mass obliteration to the verge of extinction. The killing of innocent people is always wrong. As members of the United Nation family, each one of us owes it to ourselves to promote the ideals of universal rights and a life with dignity for all,” Rezza Hossaini Acting United Nations Resident Coordinator in Zimbabwe said at this event.

“We should never ever be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim,” he added.

Rwandan Community Representative, Mr. Jean Baptiste Havugimana, explained that the 2014 commemorations were being run under the theme “Kwibuka 20” which has a threefold motto: “Remember, United and Renew.” 

The 2014 commemorative period was officially launched in the capital of Rwanda, Kigali on 7 January and ended on 4 July 2014. The theme celebrates the remarkable story of resilience and hope for the Rwandan people, who are building a new prosperous and cohesive society. ‘Kwibuka 20’ calls on the global community to stand together against genocide.

“We will always remember the more than 800 000 innocent people so brutally murdered as we pay tribute to the bravery and resilience of the survivors,” said the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon in his statement to mark the Day. “And we pay tribute to their determination to renew their country and pave way to a secure and prosperous future. I will encourage the people and government of Rwanda to continue promoting the inclusive spirit needed for healing and reconciliation, and to deepen respect for human rights,” he said.

Activities during this commemoration included speeches from young Rwandans living in Zimbabwe and a candle-lighting ceremony.

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Media Workshop on Human Trafficking

30 June 2014

Participants at the event

UNIC-Beirut and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) organized a one-day workshop on “Victim-centered Approaches in Reporting Cases of Trafficking in Persons” in Lebanon. The workshop targeted journalists and reporters from 20 Lebanese media outlets including TV, radio, print, and online platforms. 

The workshop aimed to raise the awareness of the media community on the crime of trafficking of persons and to encourage them in the fight of trafficking crime through active media reporting and applying a victim-centered approach. The workshop discussed the definition of trafficking in persons’, efforts to combat the crime in Lebanon, identification of cases of human trafficking, ethical investigative journalism, and the application of human rights principles in dealing with sources, including both victims and non-victims. Lebanese counter trafficking expert, Lieutenant Colonel Elie Al Asmar joined by Lebanese American University’s media professor Dr. Yasmine Dabbous, were among the key trainers.    

Protect your right to education – UNIC tells students

29 June 2014

National Information Officer presenting on the UN

Scholars of Tender Years Preparatory School, Abuja, North-Central Nigeria, have been charged to protect and hold on tight to their right to education by studying hard and rewarding their parents’ efforts with excellent grades and good behaviours. 

The National Information Officer of the United National Information Centre (UNIC), Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun, gave this charge during an outreach activity which coincided with the school’s cultural day that required students to dress up in their cultural attires. 

Speaking on ‘Human Rights’ during his presentation on the ‘United Nations for School Children’, Oluseyi explained that ‘every child has the right to a name and a nationality; Protection from violence; Education; and Freedom of thought. He harped on the right to education and the need for the students to protect that right by ensuring that they do not drop out of school due to poor grades or bad behaviours.

‘Education is the greatest legacy a parent can bequeath to a child’, he added, ‘Through dedication to studies and good conduct, you can become the President, the Secretary-General or rise to any exalted position in the society.’

The students who displayed a modest awareness of their environment, asked questions concerning the UN peacekeeping operations around the world as well as the efforts of UN in addressing the Boko Haram challenges in Nigeria.

UN publications were later presented to the Head of the School, Mr Vincent Eyituoyo, for the school library.