UN News

South Sudan – from cease-fire to sustainable peace?

Ivan Simonovic, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights. (Photo - UN)3 February 2014 - Ivan Simonovic, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights

We were picked up at checkpoints or during house searches. They recognized us by our accents, or by the traditional marks on our faces. 200-400 of us were brought to a room of a police station, so small that we were suffocating. Suddenly they opened fire on us from two windows. I fell to the ground, and was protected by the bodies of dead and injured lying on top of me. Some of the wounded were moaning, and they opened fire twice again during the night.”  

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A visit to Auschwitz

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (Photo - UN)UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

This year’s observance of the International Remembrance Day on January 27th -- the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp -- falls at a time when there are reminders all around us of the dangers of forgetting.  This year marks two decades since the genocide in Rwanda.  Conflicts in Syria, South Sudan and the Central African Republic have taken on dangerous communal dimensions.  Bigotry still courses through our societies and our politics.  The world can and must do more to eliminate the poison that led to the camps.

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: Message on the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, 27 January 2014

Ban Ki-moon (Photo - UN)

VIENNA, 27 January (United Nations Information Service) - Every year on the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, we commemorate the victims of the Holocaust. We recall the suffering of millions of innocent people, and highlight the perils of anti-Semitism and hatred of any kind.

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: Message on Human Rights Day, 10 December

Ban Ki-moon. (Photo - UN)

VIENNA, 10 December 2013 (United Nations Information Service) – Human Rights Day marks the anniversary of the adoption by the General Assembly of the landmark Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  This year’s observance also marks 20 years since a bold step forward in the struggle to make rights a reality for all: the adoption by the World Conference on Human Rights of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.  Drawing on the participation of more than 800 non-governmental organizations, national institutions, treaty bodies and academics, Member States adopted a far-reaching vision and created the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) – thereby realizing one of the international community’s long-held dreams.

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Why did the toilet paper roll down the hill? To get to the bottom.

2.5 billion; that’s how many people around the world still have no decent sanitation. One billion of them must do something called “open defecation”, or pooping in the open, in fields, on roadsides, on railway tracks. (Photo - UN)Has that joke left you flushed with amusement? Or was it a flash in the pan? Do you feel you got a bum deal from a supposedly serious editorial? Puns and humour abound whenever toilets or poop come into the conversation, and that’s understandable: over the last couple of hundred years the natural, inevitable act of defecation has been locked out of polite society, to be talked about only with humour or embarrassment. As India’s Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh recently said that “when we talk about sanitation we can only giggle.”

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