#UnitedStatesOfAmerica; #WorldHumanitarianDay; #Covid19Pandemic; #VulnerablePeople
New York/Canadian-Media: The following statement was made by Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of United States of America on the occasion of World Humanitarian Day:
"On World Humanitarian Day, we recognize and honor all of the humanitarian aid workers who have sacrificed so much – including, for too many of them, their lives — to answer the call to protect and support the world’s most vulnerable populations. We commend the bravery and compassion of humanitarian aid workers who put the welfare of others before their own. We are especially grateful for the aid workers around the world, including in Afghanistan, Haiti, and Ethiopia, responding to the ever-changing needs.
For the world’s most vulnerable people, the impacts of humanitarian crises are compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, and humanitarian workers have been essential to ensuring access to health care, and addressing the related effects of hunger, gender-based violence, mental health, and other challenges that disproportionately affect displaced and marginalized communities.
The United States has a longstanding tradition of humanitarian leadership. In Fiscal Year 2020, the United States provided more than $10.5 billion in funding for food, shelter, healthcare, education, safe drinking water, and sanitation benefiting tens of millions of crisis-affected people worldwide, including many who have been displaced by conflict and violence, persecution, disasters, and climate events, as well as those unable to flee.
The United States continues to be the single largest humanitarian donor. This assistance includes support to ensure the safety and security of humanitarian aid workers as they courageously care for and help protect the most vulnerable people affected by conflicts and crises from Syria to Venezuela and from South Sudan to Burma.
The commitment of the American people to help those in need goes beyond official assistance provided by the U.S. government, it is also seen in the assistance provided by private citizens, America’s civil society and non-governmental organizations, including faith-based organizations, the private sector, and the numerous Americans who have dedicated their lives to humanitarian work.
As global humanitarian needs continue to increase with historic numbers of people forced to flee their homes and amid the climate crisis and global health and economic crises of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States will continue to serve as a catalyst for coordinated international crisis response and to encourage other governments to contribute more to share responsibility for meeting global humanitarian needs. We also call on all parties to allow immediate, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access for United Nations humanitarian agencies and other humanitarian actors providing assistance, including across conflict lines, to ensure that they can deliver aid and services without interference, and that humanitarian assistance reaches all those in need.
The lifesaving assistance provided by the United States is made possible by the dedicated humanitarian aid workers in the field whom we honor today and those who have served before."
#AzadiKaAmritMahotsav; #IndiaPM; #NarendraModi; #RashtraGaanRecord
Toronto/Canadian-Media: As part of celebration of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi had urged citizens during his “Mann Ki Baat” address of 25th July 2021, to sing the national anthem to create a “Rashtra Gaan” record, Consulate General of India Toronto reports said.
Image credit: Website
In this regard, a web portal https://rashtragaan.in has been created by Ministry of Culture of India, where anyone can upload their own videos singing the national anthem, to be shown live on 15th August 2021.
The following steps need to be followed for singing and uploading the video of national anthem:
The Consulate General of India, Toronto requests all members of Indian diaspora living in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland to sing the National Anthem as India celebrates the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. All participants uploading the National Anthem on the portal will automatically be issued a certificate.
Participants are requested to register on https://forms.gle/5Mi6XHfgHXSeXfJP6 to be eligible for prizes awarded through a lucky draw organized by the Consulate General of India, Toronto.
International Day in Support of Torture Victims recognizes bravery of intern'l victims & survivors of torture
#UN; #USA; #InternationalDayinSupportofVictimsofTorture; #US; #Rehabilitation
New York/Canadian Media: On the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (IDSVT), we recognize torturers must never be allowed to get away with their crimes, and systems that enable torture should be dismantled or transformed, said UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
Blue Bird, in Ukraine, conducts art therapy sessions. Left: The ‘floss of unity,’ made by children of survivors as a symbol of togetherness. Right: Into this pot, participants can place symbols of qualities that they want to see in themselves. Image credit: UN/Sergii Kharenko
On 12 December 1997, by resolution 52/149, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 26 June the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, with a view to the total eradication of torture and the effective functioning of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
June 26 is also an opportunity to call on all stakeholders including UN Member States, civil society and individuals everywhere to unite in support of the hundreds of thousands of people around the world who have been victims of torture and those who are still tortured today.
Torture seeks to annihilate the victim’s personality and denies the inherent dignity of the human beings. Its pervasive consequences often go beyond the isolated act on an individual; and can be transmitted through generations and lead to cycles of violence.
The United Nations has condemned torture from the outset as one of the vilest acts perpetrated by human beings on their fellow human beings and is a crime under international law. and is absolutely prohibited and cannot be justified under any circumstances.
"Nevertheless, we continue to see governments using torture and other violations of human rights as tools of ongoing repression against political opponents, members of minority groups and marginalized populations, human rights advocates, and those who simply voice an opinion that these governments do not like," said Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of United States in a statement today and added, we should recognize the bravery and humanity of victims and survivors of torture around the world.
The absolute prohibition of torture is a human right enshrined in international law," Since its inception in 1987, 171 countries—including the United States—have become parties to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which is inspired by Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its core tenet: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
We should also not underscore the importance of rehabilitation and transitional justice so victims and survivors can transition from horror to healing. For this reason, the United States is the largest contributor to the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture that provides support to survivors and their families.
New York/Canadian-Media: Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State issued the following statement on the observation of Luxembourg National Day
On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, I congratulate His Royal Highness Grand Duke Henri and the people of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg as you celebrate your National Day and the Grand Duke’s Official Birthday.
Our enduring and close friendship is based on shared history and common purpose. Just as we joined together to defend freedom and democracy during World War II, we are united in furthering those values, today. As founding members of international institutions such as the United Nations and NATO, we built a strong multilateral system to address global challenges and promote international prosperity. We are proud to continue our close partnership with Luxembourg, and we look forward to further cooperation in areas such as combatting climate change and advancing space exploration.
Best wishes to the people of Luxembourg for a safe and happy National Day, and a prosperous year ahead
#Washington; #WorldRefugeeDay2021; #COVID19Pandemic
Washington/Canadian-Media: Antony J. Blinken, US Secretary of State issued the following press statement during the observation of World Refugee Day today, June 20, 2021.
The shared experience of COVID-19 has showed us that we only succeed if we stand together. Together we heal, learn and shine. PHOTO:UNHCR
World Refugee Day presents an opportunity to recognize the courage and resilience of the millions of refugees who have been forced to flee their homes, the generosity of the communities that host them, and the united global response of humanitarian partners that help them. We mark today with news that the immense global forced displacement crisis has reached a disturbing new high, affecting more than 82 million people who are forcibly displaced, including more than 26 million refugees. These figures and the UN Refugee Agency’s theme for this year’s World Refugee Day, “Together we heal, learn, and shine,” are calls to action for all countries to ensure refugees have access to protection, life-saving care, and opportunities to learn so they can thrive in their host communities.
The United States reaffirms our commitment to alleviating the suffering of refugees globally through our leadership in humanitarian assistance and diplomacy. International cooperation is essential, and we recommit to multilateral engagement to meet immediate humanitarian needs and seek durable solutions for refugees to live with hope and dignity. No single country can respond to this global crisis alone, and no country is untouched by the impacts of forced displacement. We are in this together.
The United States is once again taking up the mantle of leadership on refugee resettlement, including through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, which has welcomed more than 3.1 million refugees since 1980. We have already taken the critical steps of raising the annual refugee admissions target to 62,500 for Fiscal Year 2021 and restoring regional allocations for resettlement to ensure that access to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program is based on refugees’ vulnerability, responds to the emergency need for resettlement across all regions of the world, and reflects the American tradition of welcoming refugees. The Biden-Harris Administration is putting America’s highest values at the center of our foreign policy and offering reassurance to persecuted people for whom permanent resettlement is needed.
Refugee resettlement is one of several ways that the United States supports forcibly displaced people around the world. As the world’s largest single donor of humanitarian assistance, the United States plays a crucial role in promoting and fostering the international response to displacement crises. In Fiscal Year 2020, we provided more than $10.5 billion in humanitarian aid globally, including assistance for refugees. In addition to providing life-saving services, our assistance supports the tireless work of humanitarian partner organizations to provide health care as well as livelihood and educational opportunities so that people fleeing persecution can heal, learn, and shine even in the challenging context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone deserves these opportunities, and we will continue to call on other countries to help us sustain humanitarian responses and find lasting solutions globally.
The United States will maintain our diplomatic efforts to promote access to international protection for people in vulnerable situations regardless of their location. We will be a reliable partner to all parties seeking to end conflicts or address other drivers of forced displacement and instability in the interest of creating the conditions for people to prosper instead of fleeing for their lives.
#Washington; #USPresident; #Juneteenth; #EndOfSlavery
Washington/Canadian-Media: United States President Joe Biden declares Juneteenth, June 19 as an official holiday in the US to commemorate the end of slavery.
Imagee credit: Asha Bajaj
The legislation of Juneteenth as a federal holiday was signed by Biden Thursday marking , effective immediately. Before the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act was signed by Biden, Juneteenth was recognized as either a state or ceremonial holiday in 48 states and Washington, D.C.
Juneteenth celebrates the Emancipation Proclamation, which only freed slaves in the South, the 13th Amendment is what officially ended slavery in the U.S.
Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger informed on June 19, 1865 to community in Galveston, Texas, that President Abraham Lincoln had freed enslaved people in rebel states two and a half years earlier and also pressed locals to comply with the directive.
The holiday is looking a little different from most years.
The event which was celebrated virtually last year would see 144 million Americans fully vaccinated against COVID-19 gather in person.
Created in 1997 by Ben Haith, the founder of the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation, the original Juneteenth flag has a blue and red stripe with a white star in the middle with an outline surrounding the star, and an arc that extends across the width of the flag.
#UN; #InternationalAlbinismAwarenessDay, #Demystifying; #Discrimination; #Solidarity
New York/Canadian-Media: On International Albinism Awareness Day, Sunday, the UN chief reiterated his “solidarity with persons with albinism”.
Lucas and his brother both have albinism, which makes their skin very sensitive, their eyesight poor, and their appearance a little different from their brothers and sisters. Image credit: © UNICEF
Albinism, a rare, non-contagious, genetically inherited condition found in both men and women, presents as a lack of melanin pigmentation in hair, skin and eyes, causing vulnerability to the sun and bright light.
As a result` almost all people with albinism are visually impaired and are prone to developing skin cancer.
Secretary-General António Guterres said that this year’s theme, Strength Beyond All Odds, reflects the “resilience, perseverance and achievements” of people with albinism in the face of pervasive “misconceptions, discrimination and violence”.
Shining a spotlight
While numbers vary, the UN estimates that in North America and Europe one in every 17,000 to 20,000 people have some form of albinism, but in sub-Saharan Africa, the figure is higher.
One in 1,400 Tanzanians have the condition, and in Zimbabwe and select populations in other specific ethnic groups in Southern Africa, the prevalence rises to as high as one in 1,000.
Profoundly misunderstood, socially and medically, people with albinism face multiple forms of discrimination worldwide.
They are often the object of superstitious beliefs and myths, which not only foster their marginalization and social exclusion but also lead to various forms of stigma discrimination and violence.
Some centuries old erroneous mythologies still exist in cultural attitudes and practices globally, putting the security and lives of persons with albinism at constant risk.
“Despite these obstacles to well-being and security, leaders of organizations representing persons with albinism continue to work hard to support the most vulnerable”, said Mr. Guterres.
Protect persons with albinism
Meaningful commitments, such as the Plan of Action on Albinism in Africa and the work of the UN independent expert on albinism in promoting the rights of persons with albinism, have encouraged the UN chief that those with the condition are “increasingly taking their rightful place in decision-making platforms around the world”.
Yet, recognizing the “deep need to demystify the condition and end discrimination”, he acknowledged, “much remains to be done”.
The Secretary-General urged all nations and communities to “protect and fulfil the human rights of all persons with albinism and provide necessary support and care”.
In her statement marking the day, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, echoed the UN chief's call for protection.
As the pandemic exacerbates the challenges faced by people with albinism, she pointed out that in some countries, they have been "smeared with names such as 'corona' and 'COVID-19'", and some have even been "banished from their communities".
"I call on States and the international community to continue to build and strengthen partnerships with persons with albinism and organizations representing them, to ensure they are included in decision-making that concerns them and to promote their enjoyment of all human rights", said Ms. Bachelet.
#OFCCP; #AANHPI; #Observance; #UnitedStates; #Equality
New York/Canadian-Media: Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), part of the U.S. Department of Labor celebrates Asian American, Native Hawaiian /Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month highlighting the contributions made by AANHPIs to our nation’s culture and history with recommitment to advancing equity for all AANHPI workers.
Image credit: www.resourceumc.org
In his Presidential Proclamation marking AANHPI Heritage Month, United States (U.S.) President Joe Biden stated AANHPI communities are deeply rooted in the history of the United States with contributions from laying railroad tracks, tilling fields, and starting businesses, to caring for our loved ones and honorably serving our Nation in uniform.
In spite of the strength shown and successes achieved, Biden said that AANHPI communities face systemic barriers to economic justice, health equity, educational attainment, and personal safety challenged by failing to reflect the diversity of AANHPI communities and the particular barriers that Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Southeast Asian, and South Asian communities in the United States continue to face.
AANHPI communities have experienced in the past year, increased incidents of hate crimes, bias and racial scapegoating. Anti-Asian racism is not new. Throughout history hate crimes against South Asians, AANHPI communities have experienced discrimination and inequity, often stemming from xenophobia from the Chinese Exclusion Act to the Japanese internment camps to post-9/11.
AANHPI communities are incredibly diverse in terms of socioeconomic status as well as national origin, language and religious affiliation. While some Asian American subgroups have high levels of education and income, more than 2 million AANHPIs live in poverty.
This economic insecurity for many AANHPI communities has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. AANHPI women are overrepresented in service industries such as restaurants, hotels, and retail industries that have seen significant job losses during the pandemic. Even before the pandemic, AANHPI workers, including AANHPI women, faced job segregation, unequal pay and systemic barriers in hiring and promotions. A 2015 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission report found that in the technology sector, high percentage of Asian American workers hired, Asian Americans are underrepresented in upper management and Asians Americans with advanced degrees actually earn 5% less compared with whites.
With a longstanding mission to protect workers, OFCCP enforces the contractual promise of equal opportunity and affirmative action by federal contractors and subcontractors and has been able to recover more than $7,599,821 million for over 3,367 AANHPI workers experiencing workplace discrimination since 2019.
With its commitment to better understanding and addressing the barriers facing AANHPI workers in the American workplace, OFCCP has ensured federal contractors and subcontractors advance equality and opportunity for all over the past half-century.
#LoC; #USOfficeOfPersonnelManagement; #PublicServiceRecognitionWeek; #USCopyrightOffice; #OnlineTransition
Washington/Canadian-Media: The United States (U.S.) Office of Personnel Management has designated first full week of May as Public Service Recognition Week to honor the folks who work in the business of federal, state, county and local governments including the library employees and those working at national Library, Library of Congress (LoC) reported.
Main reading room of the Library of Congress. Image credit: Shawn Miller
With more than 3,200 people working at the LoC, including world-class experts and scholars in a vast number of fields, it is the largest library in world history, comprising more than 171.6 million items and counting. Included in the library facilities are the main Library buildings, the U.S. Copyright Office and the Congressional Research Service on the Capitol Hill campus; the Packard National Audio-Visual Conservation Center in Culpeper, Virginia; six satellite offices around the world; and several state-of-the-art storage facilities.
A vast number of fields in which world-class experts and scholars work are the U.S. and world history, literature, book-binding, films, folklore, maps, manuscripts, printing, photography, maps, making all resources available to the public while also preserving them for centuries to come.
Apart from great librarians, LoC also houses chemists, film preservationists, and, in the case of the papers of Alexander Hamilton, scientists who used hyperspectral imaging to uncover long-hidden lines of text.
In her video message, Carla Hayden, the Librarian Of LoC, says the Library is one of the primary keepers of the American narrative, a storehouse, conservatory, library and museum of American and world history. Though our doors have been closed to the public and most employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Library staff never missed a day, as the staff shifted to telework almost overnight to keep the work flowing and more than 802,000 reference librarians answered the questions from members of Congress to researchers to students. (Just use our Ask a Librarian service!) in fiscal 2020.
Thousands of items that come into the Library daily were received, stored and processed by the technicians. More than 400,00 copyright registrations per year were done by the Copyright Office a cornerstone of intellectual property rights. Conservationists and preservations found new ways to work safely working in everything from manuscripts to maps, from films to recordings.
The National Book Festival, one of our favorite events, has also been transitioned by the staff responsible for putting together the festival from multiple departments to hosting the festival online last fall. The impact of COVID-19 impact on the nation is also being actively documented and curated. Our crowdsourcing project for transcribing historical papers, 'By the People', also continued without missing any step.
#InternationalLaborDay; #Solidarity; #CommonSurvival
New York/Canadian-Media: In a statement issued to mark May Day, ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, calls on workers, employers, governments, international organizations and all who are committed to building back better, to join forces to bring in a world of work with justice and dignity for all.
International Labor Day. Image credit: Wikipedia.org
This year we again celebrate May Day, International Workers’ Day, under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic has devastated the world of work, destroying jobs, enterprises and livelihoods, throwing millions into poverty and global development into reverse.
And like most crises, it has hit the weakest and the most vulnerable, the hardest, making an unequal world even more unequal.
The pandemic and its consequences are a stark reminder of global interdependence.
That applies to health as much as it does to our working lives.
No one is safe until everyone is safe.
No one can afford to be indifferent to the situation of others in the face of the fragility of the interdependent world that we have constructed.
Solidarity is key to our common survival and prosperity, within borders and across borders.
As we deal with today’s crisis and look to the future, one thing is clear: we need a human-centred recovery, with justice and equity, a recovery that is sustainable and inclusive of all.
Building back better means making deliberate and coherent policy choices:
We salute them, just as we mourn those whose have lost their lives, but, we must never sacrifice our values of social justice, nor our fundamental rights at work, nor our determination to build the better future which, is the meaning and the purpose of those who have celebrated May Day around the world for so many years.
In many ways, the pandemic has brought darkness to our lives and made that task more difficult.
Yet, it has also brought new possibilities that we can and must pursue.
The flux of crisis gives us space to rethink, make new choices and new commitments for people, for planet and for prosperity.
On this International Labor Day, the ILO calls on workers, employers, governments and international organizations, everybody committed to building back better, to join forces, to bring in a world of work with justice and dignity for all.