On the occasion of the 2018 World Press Freedom Day commemorated on 3 May 2018, the Chairman of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue, Dr. Hanif Hassan Ali Al Qassim, highlighted the importance of promoting freedom of the press to facilitate “good governance and transparent societies.”
The world is heading into troubled waters in the figurative and in the real sense of this expression, as we are witnessing an unprecedented movement of people – refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons (IDPs) alike – fleeing from insecurity, climate change, natural disasters, calamities and social instability. The migrant and refugee crisis has swept across the Middle East and across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. It is becoming the 21st century’s most protracted crisis with no immediate solution in sight. Thousands of human beings undertake perilous and treacherous journeys in hope for a better and a safer future. Many of them perish during these hazardous journeys over the Mediterranean Sea which has become a liquid graveyard.
The Chairman of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue H. E. Dr. Hanif Hassan Ali Al Qassim deplored the rise of xenophobia, bigotry and marginalization - targeting refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons - that is taking effect in many regions of the world.
In commemoration of the 2017 United Nations Day, the Chairman of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue H. E. Dr. Hanif Hassan Ali Al Qassim called for enhancing the role of the United Nations to address issues related to the promotion of peace and security as a platform for collaboration and the advancement of human rights.
On the occasion of the 2017 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, the Chairman of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue H. E. Dr. Hanif Hassan Ali Al Qassim observed that the unprecedented rise of violence and insecurity in the Arab region combined, breed poverty and societal decline.
The Chairman of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue H. E. Dr. Hanif Al Qassim appealed to the world community to provide financial, technical and material assistance to Bangladesh and the UN in providing adequate housing and shelter to the approximately 700,000 Rohingyan refugees - entrenched in Bangladesh - after fleeing persecution and oppression in Myanmar. Al Qassim’s appeal came in the wake of the deplorable humanitarian situation unfolding in the region and on the occasion of the 2017 World Habitat Day.
The Chairman of the Geneva Centre Dr. Hanif Hassan Ali Al Qassim is calling on the international community to address the surge of extremist violence exacerbating the volatile security situation in the Arab region. This appeal was made by Dr. Al Qassim in relation to the commemoration of the 2017 International Day of Non-Violence observed on 2 October 2017.
Women’s empowerment and gender equality should remain a central objective of the world community. The recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) includes specific provisions to member States of the United Nations – notably through SDG 5 - to commit to enhancing gender equality and to give women a stronger voice in the fight for equality. The Preamble of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights calls for “equal rights
” to be enjoyed by “men and women
”: 69 years later, gender equality has not only been recognised for what it is: a fundamental human right, it is also becoming a guiding principle in the efforts of States to attain the highest ideals of a just and inclusive society and the highest rate of growth.
The pursuit of international peace and security has been on the agenda of international decision-makers ever since the establishment of the League of Nations on 10 January 1920. There has been a constant ambiguity about the way this commitment has been translated to practice. The Covenant of the League of Nations
committed itself “to promote international co-operation and to achieve international peace and security
”: nevertheless, the eruption of violence and geopolitical confrontations lead to another major confrontation two decades later. This reinforced the determination of the world community to redouble its efforts to promote peace and security. The Chairman of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue said that the UN Charter - adopted on 26 June 1945 - did not prevent the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and of Nagasaki less than two months later. The disastrous consequences of the Second World War was a terrible reminder of humanity’s ability to bring the world close to apocalypse. Partly for such reasons more than 60 million people continue to be forcibly displaced today and peace continues to be so elusive.
Thanks to globalization and trade liberalization of commodities, services and goods, global trade has reached an unprecedented level. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, world trade in goods was valued at approximately USD 16 trillion. North-North trade generates the highest trade volume at approximately 6 trillion
; trade flows within and between countries of the Global South amounts to 4.6 trillion. Trade between the Global South and the Global North -approximately between 2.5 and 3 trillion - add up to less than the trade flows within the Earth’s two main poles.
The vision of a literate world has guided the United Nations in its efforts to eliminate illiteracy worldwide. According to UNESCO, the world literacy rate
now stands at 91% up from 79% in 1980. In the Arab region, the literacy rate is currently at 86%; a 22% increase from 1980 where the literacy rate stood at 64%. Although world society has witnessed significant progress in eradicating illiteracy, approximately 750 million adults and 264 million children
worldwide are still considered as illiterate. Thus, the cloud of world illiteracy overshadows the geography of world poverty. Nonetheless, the Sustainable Development Goals have translated the vision of a literate world into a concrete action-plan: Sustainable Development Goal 4.6
calls upon all member States of the United Nations to ensure that youth, both men and women, “achieve literacy and numeracy” by 2030. In the words of formerSecretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan
Extreme poverty remains one of the world’s biggest challenges. According to the United Nations, 767 million people live in extreme poverty around the world. Although world society has managed to lift nearly 1 billion people out of extreme poverty – in 1999 it was estimated that 1.7 billion were affected by extreme poverty – the unprecedented rise of conflict and of violence in the Arab region has worsened the socioeconomic situation of vulnerable population segments in many countries. On 22 February 2017, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator of the United Nations –Stephen O’Brien – stated to the United Nations Security Council that 67% of the population in Syria is living under conditions considered as extreme poverty. In another Arab country affected by war and conflict – Yemen – the World Bank estimates that poverty affects 62% of the population, whereas the World Bank’s estimates this number to be at approximately 22% for Iraq or even as high as 40% in territories controlled by DAESH. Inevitably, conflict and violence have worsened the situation in the Arab region.
The war in Syria has now entered its 6th
year and is becoming the world’s worst man-made disaster.
The world population has witnessed a remarkable growth during the recent decades. In 1965, it stood at 3.3 billion people. In 2017 –52 years later-- the global population reached a staggering 7.5 billion people corresponding to more than a doubling of the Earth’s residents over the last half-century.
The world is heading into troubled waters as we are witnessing an unprecedented movement of people – refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons (IDPs) alike – fleeing from misery, poverty and conflicts. The refugee crisis that has swept across Europe and the Middle East is becoming the 21st century’s most protracted crisis with no immediate solution in sight. The world has not witnessed a more complex movement of people since the end of the Second World War; thousands of human beings undertake perilous and treacherous journeys in hope for a better and a safer future. Many of them perish during these hazardous journeys.
Today marks the 2017 World Day against Child Labor to reaffirm the goal to eliminate all forms of child labor. This year’s annual theme highlights a subject that is often neglected, namely the importance of addressing child labor in conflict areas and in disaster settings.
On 20 February 1997, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 51/77 to promote the rights of children. This Resolution was considered a milestone in promoting and advancing the right of children in conflict and wars.
More than 7 billion people live on this planet spread among 7 continents, 194 states of the United Nations (UN) and numerous other non-self-governing territories. The world is made up of a mosaic of people belonging to different cultural and religious backgrounds. Our planet has been a cultural melting pot since time immemorial.
This year’s theme for the 2017 World Press Freedom Day
“Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies
” is one of the most important days honouring press freedom.
“Our job is to provide an environment that unlocks women’s potential – one that protects their dignity and femininity, helps them create the necessary balance in their lives, and values their talents and potential. Given this environment, I am confident that women will perform nothing short of miracles.”
The distressing images of desperate people making the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean Sea and the Balkans to escape armed conflict, social tensions, discrimination and poverty harm the preconditions to achieve social harmony.