🔎 Sustainable Development Goals; UN General Assembly
Addressing the general debate at the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, leaders from South American countries urged the global community for greater cooperation and collaboration in addressing a range of pressing issues – from poverty to security challenges.
Underscoring the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), David Granger, the President of Guyana, said that the Goals represent the international community’s collective desire and determination to eradicate hunger and poverty, and ensure equal opportunities in education, employment and social justice for both men and women.
However, advancement of these Goals, he noted, is obstructed by violations of human rights, as well as by conflicts and violence that is displacing many from their homes, adding that the challenge before the UN is “to resolve to reinforce respect for the rights of citizens within the governance structures of [its] Member States.”
He also underscored the need to combat the impact of climate change, and expressed his country’s commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change.
“Climate change is not a fiction of a few extremists,” said the President, noting that most recently, Caribbean islands and North American countries had felt the devastating impact of five successive hurricanes.
Also in his remarks, the Guyanese President reiterated that humanity must continue to striving for peace and highlighted the important role the UN through the International Criminal Court and the Security Council have in ensuring peace and respect for justice.
“Peace for the world’s peoples is the mandate of the UN. It can be achieved by addressing the world’s humanitarian crises, promoting justice within and between nations and resolving long-standing conflicts between states,” he concluded.
Also speaking today, Horacio Manuel Cartes Jara, the President of Paraguay, underscored the importance of the UN in confronting global challenges such as poverty and inequality, climate change, transnational crime, drug trafficking and terrorism.
Reaffirming his country’s commitment for the implementation of the Paris Agreement, President Cartes Jara urged all States, and in particular those with greater responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions, to take all necessary measures to preserve the planet from the consequences of global warming.
“In Paraguay, we have taken a social responsibility perspective, by fostering greater production of clean and renewable energy,” he said.
The President also informed the Assembly of Paraguay’s efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including building an innovative and inclusive institutional architecture to advance progress towards the SDGs and targets.
He also spoke of work in his country to combat poverty, build opportunities for the indigenous and rural communities, promote greater investments, as well as increase transparency and efficiency in Government processes.
Turning to the crisis emanating from the nuclear weapon development programme of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the President reiterated Paraguay’s condemnation of the nuclear tests conducted by the DPRK, in clear defiance of its international obligations, and urged a “firm rejection” by the UN General Assembly of such acts by the country.
Also addressing the General Assembly today, President Lenín Moreno Garcés of Ecuador said the road to achieving peace and successfully implementing the SDG’s depends on cooperation and dialogue.
Reflecting on misuse of resources, the President asked: “How could it be possible that resources allocated to implementing the SDG’s have been wasted on the absurdity of war?”
He added that fallout from conflicts extends beyond economic damages – they also rob people of “true freedom and democracy.”
For this reason, he said, it is important to respect sovereignty of States and reject the notion that militarism is the solution, which, he stressed “brings suffering, pain and death.”
Also in his remarks, Mr. Garcés informed the General Assembly of a temporary bilateral ceasefire signed just a few days ago in the Ecuadorian capital, Quito, between Government of Colombia and an armed group, as an example of regional strides towards achieving peace.
In conclusion, the President expressed optimism about coexisting in “a more human, and just world,” can be attributed to the power of dialogue, political decision-making power, and collective action.
Published on UN News Centre on September 20, 2017.
Repression of rights defenders, journalists, and opposition in Egypt has reached levels not seen in decades – from legislation effectively banning NGOs, to enforced disappearances, long-term arbitrary detention, and extrajudicial killings.
But the authoritarianism of President Sisi is perhaps best defined by widespread and systematic torture, inflicted upon dissidents with complete impunity. Human Rights Watch’s report this month reveals a torture assembly line in police stations and National Security Agency sites.
Former detainees told us a typical interrogation session begins with security officers shocking a blindfolded, stripped, and handcuffed suspect with an electric stun gun in sensitive places while slapping or beating them with sticks and metal bars. If dissatisfied with the answers, officers increase the duration of electric shocks. Officers then force detainees into stress positions, beating and shocking them while they are hanging in excruciating pain.
One former detainee said officers repeatedly raped him with a stick; another said they pulled out one of his fingernails. A detained lawyer said they wrapped a wire around his penis and shocked him. Three former detainees said officers threatened to torture their family if they did not confess.
In nearly every case, torture served as prelude to prosecution. Almost all detainees said they told prosecutors about their torture but saw no investigation into their allegations.
Egypt’s torture epidemic is systematic and widespread, and likely constitutes a crime against humanity. In the face of these violations, the Council’s utter silence is jarring, an insult to victims of egregious abuse. Time is long overdue for the Council to press Egypt to end its frontal assault on human rights.
Published on HRW on September 20, 2017.
By resolution 71/258, the General Assembly decided to convene in 2017 a United Nations conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination. The Assembly encouraged all Member States to participate in the Conference and decided that it shall convene in New York, under the rules of procedure of the General Assembly unless otherwise agreed by the Conference, with the participation and contribution of international organizations and civil society representatives. The Conference will be held in New York from 27 to 31 March and from 15 June to 7 July. The Conference held a one-day organizational session in New York,on 16 February 2017.
The decision to convene the Conference followed from the recommendation of the open-ended working group on taking forward multilateral disarmament negotiations, convened pursuant to resolution 70/33. The open-ended working group, chaired by Ambassador Thani Thongphakdi (Thailand), specified in its report that a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons would establish general prohibitions and obligations as well as a political commitment to achieve and maintain a nuclear-weapon-free world. The primary mandate of the open-ended working group was to address concrete effective legal measures, legal provisions and norms that would need to be concluded to attain and maintain a world without nuclear weapons.
Source: UN website