Author Archives: Mohammed Al-Zuhairi


New York, 8 March 2018

We are at a pivotal moment for women’s rights. The historical and structural inequalities that have allowed oppression and discrimination to flourish are being exposed like never before. From Latin America to Europe to Asia, on social media, on film sets, on the factory floor and in the streets, women are calling for lasting change and zero tolerance for sexual assault, harassment, and discrimination of all kinds.
Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world.
The activism and advocacy of generations of women has borne fruit. There are more girls in school than ever before; more women are doing paid work and in senior roles in the private sector, academia, politics and in international organizations, including the United Nations. Gender equality is enshrined in countless laws, and harmful practices like female genital mutilation and child marriage have been outlawed in many countries.
But serious obstacles remain if we are to address the historic power imbalances that underpin discrimination and exploitation.
More than a billion women around the world lack legal protection against domestic sexual violence. The global gender pay gap is 23 per cent, rising to 40 per cent in rural areas, and the unpaid work done by many women goes unrecognized. Women’s representation in national parliaments stands, on average, at less than one quarter, and in boardrooms it is even lower. Without concerted action, millions more girls will be subjected to genital mutilation over the next decade.
Where laws exist, they are often ignored, and women who pursue legal redress are doubted, denigrated and dismissed. We now know that sexual harassment and abuse have been thriving in workplaces, public spaces and private homes, in countries that pride themselves on their record of gender equality.
The United Nations should set an example for the world.
I recognize that this has not always been the case. Since the start of my tenure last year, I have set change in motion at UN headquarters, in our peacekeeping missions and in all our offices worldwide.
We have now reached gender parity for the first time in my senior management team, and I am determined to achieve this throughout the organization. I am totally committed to zero tolerance of sexual harassment and have set out plans to improve reporting and accountability. We are working closely with countries around the world to prevent and address sexual exploitation and abuse by staff in peacekeeping missions, and to support victims.
We at the United Nations stand with women around the world as they fight to overcome the injustices they face – whether they are rural women dealing with wage discrimination, urban women organizing for change, women refugees at risk of exploitation and abuse, or women who experience intersecting forms of discrimination: widows, indigenous women, women with disabilities and women who do not conform to gender norms.
Women’s empowerment is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals means progress for all women, everywhere. The Spotlight initiative launched jointly with the European Union will focus resources on eliminating violence against women and girls, a prerequisite for equality and empowerment.
Let me be clear: this is not a favour to women. Gender equality is a human rights issue, but it is also in all our interests: men and boys, women and girls. Gender inequality and discrimination against women harms us all.
There is ample evidence that investing in women is the most effective way to lift communities, companies, and even countries. Women’s participation makes peace agreements stronger, societies more resilient and economies more vigorous. Where women face discrimination, we often find practices and beliefs that are detrimental to all. Paternity leave, laws against domestic violence and equal pay legislation benefit everyone.
At this crucial moment for women’s rights, it is time for men to stand with women, listen to them and learn from them. Transparency and accountability are essential if women are to reach their full potential and lift all of us, in our communities, societies and economies.
I am proud to be part of this movement, and I hope it continues to resonate within the United Nations and around the world.

الأمم المتحدة تحتفل باليوم الدولي للغة الأم

ملصق حول اليوم الدولي للغة الأم

21 شباط/فبراير 2018 – الثقافة والتعليم


تحتفل الأمم المتحدة باليوم الدولي للغة الأم في الحادي والعشرين من فبراير شباط من كل عام، منذ سنة 2000، بهدف تعزيز التعدد اللغوي والثقافي. وموضوع الاحتفال هذا العام هو “أهمية التنوع والتعدد اللغويان من أجل التنمية المستدامة.

ووفق الموقع الرسمي لليوم الدولي فإن جعل التنمية المستدامة واقعا معاشا، يتطلب إتاحة المجال للراغبين في التعلم، إمكانية الوصول إلى المعرفة بلغاتهم الأصلية وباللغات الأخرى، فاكتساب المهارات الأساسية لا يكون إلا من خلال إتقان اللغة الأولى أو اللغة الأم.


ويدعم اليوم الدولي المقصد السادس للهدف الرابع من أهداف التنمية المستدامة بشأن “ضمان أن تلم نسبة كبيرة من الشباب والكبار، رجالا ونساء، بالقراءة والكتابة والحساب بحلول عام 2030”.

تعيين مارتن غريفيث مبعوثا للأمين العام إلى اليمن خلفا لولد الشيخ أحمد

المدنيون هم من يتحملون العبء الأكبر في الصراع في اليمن

16 شباط/فبراير 2018 – شؤون الأمم المتحدة

عين الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة أنطونيو غوتيريش، البريطاني مارتن غريفيث مبعوثا خاصا له إلى اليمن خلفا لإسماعيل ولد الشيخ أحمد.

وفي بيان منسوب للمتحدث باسمه، أعرب الأمين العام عن امتنانه لولد الشيخ أحمد لالتزامه وخدمته المتفانية.

وأشار البيان إلى أن السيد غريفيث لديه خبرة واسعة في حل النزاعات والتفاوض والوساطة والشؤون الإنسانية. إذ شغل مناصب عديدة، منها المدير التنفيذي للمعهد الأوروبي للسلام، ومستشار لثلاثة مبعوثين خاصين إلى سوريا، ونائب رئيس بعثة الأمم المتحدة للمراقبة في سوريا.

كما أنه المدير المؤسس لمركز الحوار الإنساني في جنيف، وشغل مناصب في السلك الدبلوماسي البريطاني ومنظمات إنسانية دولية مختلفة مثل اليونيسف.

Civilians in war-torn Yemen ‘under fire on all sides’ – UN rights chief

A school in Taizz city badly damaged as a result of the fighting. (file) Photo: UNICEF/UN026944/Basha

12 February 2018

Raising alarm over continuing civilian casualties in the midst of increased hostilities in war-ravaged Yemen, the United Nations human rights chief underscored that all parties to the conflict are obliged under international humanitarian law to ensure that civilians are not harmed.

The situation in Taizz governorate – located in south-west Yemen – is of particular concern.

“Civilians are under fire on all sides, as Houthi and affiliated forces carry out sniper attacks and indiscriminate shelling, and the Saudi-led Coalition continues to conduct airstrikes,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said in a news releaseMonday.

“For the civilians in the city of Taizz, the conflict is not just escalating but inescapable.”

Between 1 and 8 February, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) verified that 27 people were killed and 76 injured in Yemen – more than double the number of civilian casualties confirmed during the previous week.

The actual number could be higher.

Among those killed were three children who lost their lives in shelling by Houthi forces in Al Qahirah district (northern Taizz) on 6 February; and a woman working as field monitor for the Yemen National Commission of Inquiry in Salh district on 8 Ferbruary.

Elsewhere in the country, eight civilians – including a woman and a child – were killed and 32 injured on 4 February when three airstrikes hit a Ministry of the Interior building in Bani Al Harith district, in Amanat Al Asimah Governorate.

OHCHR officials who visited the scene said that there did not appear to be any military objects near the building, which had previously been hit in January 2016.

Also in the first eight days of February, OHCHR document sniping and indiscriminate shelling by Houthi forces in frontline areas in Hudaydah and Hajja governorates, and airstrikes by the Coalition on areas under the control of the Houthi forces, including in Sana’a, Sa’ada, Hudaydah and Amran Governorates.

Underscoring the obligation on all parties to the conflict to ensure that civilian populations are not harmed, the UN human rights chief reiterated that “any intentional, direct attack against civilians or civilian objects is considered a serious violation of international humanitarian law.”

Since March 2015 and as of 8 February, OHCHR has documented 15,467 civilian casualties, with 5,974 killed and 9,493 injured.

Yemen: Raging violence displaces more than 85,000 civilians, says UN refugee agency

Rahaf Ali Bedaish, 8, carries her little brother Ahmed, 2, outside their tent at the Dharawan settlement. They have been displaced from Taizz governorate since the beginning of the conflict and miss their home. ; UNHCR is responding to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, providing emergency assistance to those forcibly displaced by the conflict. Recent fighting in Yemen has made years of poverty and insecurity even worse. The conflict has killed 10,000 people and disrupted millions of lives, with 2 million internally displaced and a further 1 million having returned home to dangerous conditions. More than 20 million Yemenis need humanitarian assistance. UNHCR provides emergency shelter and household assistance including mattresses, blankets, sleeping mats, kitchen sets, buckets and other essential items. Our assistance has reached people in all 20 governorates affected by the conflict. We also refurbish public buildings that now host displaced families. We provide legal and financial assistance as well as psycho-social support, and we continue to protect and support some 280,000 refugees, mainly from the Horn of Africa, who remain in Yemen despite the conflict.

9 February 2018

Surging violence across Yemen has resulted in the displacement of more than 85,000 people in just the last 10 weeks, the United Nations refugee agency reported Friday.

Yemen is the world’s largest humanitarian crisis with more than 22 million in need, fuelled by ongoing conflict, a breakdown in public services and a collapsing economy.

“We are particularly concerned for those that remain in areas close to hostilities in Taiz and Hudaydah governorates,” said Cécile Pouilly, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told reporters in Geneva, Switzerland.

“As a result of prolonged fighting in those two governorates, conditions continue to deteriorate, exposing people to violence and disease without access to basic services,” she added, noting that the agency was “alarmed” as hundreds of people are forced to flee their homes each day, due to increasing military operations, particularly on the west coast.

Most of those displaced in these two governorates are trapped inside their homes or in caves as ground clashes, aerial bombardment and sniper fire rage around them.

In addition to new displacements from those fleeing the coast, UNHCR is also observing a spike from other frontline areas, including Yemen’s border governorates.

Meanwhile, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has launched an appeal for $96.2 million to fund its 2018 response for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

“Three years of conflict have inflicted suffering on millions, affecting every Yemeni – man, woman or child,” said William Lacy Swing, the UN migration agency’s Director General, from its headquarters in Geneva.

“With armed conflict ongoing, a stalled peace process and an economic blockade, Yemen is in the grips of a devastating protracted humanitarian and developmental crisis,” he added.

WHO steps up efforts to fight severe acute malnutrition cases in Yemen

07 December 2017 –  World Health Organization

A young mother sits in the waiting room of the Al-Sabeen Hospital in Sana’a, desperately holding onto her 10-month old baby girl, Menamah. The journey from their home in Al-Jawf governorate to the hospital has taken a physical toll on both mother and child. Menamah is suffering from severe acute malnutrition, and her frail, little body is further weakened by complications from pneumonia, gastroenteritis and a skin infection.

“I cannot bear to see my child this way. No mother can. There are no words to describe how helpless I feel seeing my baby like this,” said Menameh’s mother.

Hunger is painful and prior to this hospital visit, Menameh suffered in silence for nearly 2 months, unable to receive the life-saving medical care needed due to ill-equipped health centres located in Al Jawf governorate.

“When we took her to a health centre in Al-Jawf, the doctor told us that Menameh was severely malnourished and that they did not have the equipment to treat her, it was then that he advised us to take her to Sana’a.”

With tears in her eyes, she went on to say that the family could barely afford their travel to the hospital.

“We can barely afford to live. But we found a way. We are not rich people, my husband is a labourer and finding a job these days is next to impossible.”

Nearly half a million children in Yemen are starving

The sad fact is that Menameh’s story is one of many. Currently, there are around 400 000 children in Yemen suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

Shamekh Abdullah is only 5 months old, and he too suffers from severe acute malnutrition. The normal weight of a baby his age is approximately 6-7 kilos. Shamekh weighs a meagre 4.2 kilos. His mother explained that Shamekh battled sickness from the moment he was born. His family was, and still is, unable to afford the trip to the hospital.

Shamekh’s parents finally borrowed enough money to make the trip, with the faint hope that this hospital visit would save his life.

“When Shamekh was born, he was very sick. We could not afford to put him in an incubator. My husband works as a civil servant and because of this war, he has not received a salary for over a year.”

Shamekh’s mother, looks down at her son, “He is not our only child. We also have a 7 year-old girl, who is suffering from heart disease. We do not have the money to treat her too.”

The hurtful cost of a painful war

Since the beginning of the conflict in March 2015, many people in Yemen have lost their jobs. As the prices of commodities and goods doubled, those who are unemployed consider themselves fortunate if they can feed their children at least once a day. Before the war, 80% of Yemen’s food supply was imported; fast forward 2 years and an estimated 7 million people are at-risk of starvation, including 1.8 million children who are malnourished.

“These overwhelming figures indicate that Yemen is on the brink of famine, and WHO is actively supporting the country by intensifying our response efforts, establishing, equipping and rehabilitating 20 therapeutic feeding centres, in addition to the existing 12 WHO-supported centres which are also being rehabilitated,” said Dr Nevio Zagaria, the WHO Representative for Yemen.

Some in the international community have heard the cry of the people of Yemen and are doing something. Response efforts in 19 of the 22 governorates have scaled-up, in large part due to the support provided by the World Bank, the Humanitarian Pooled Fund and the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).

WHO rebuilds and responds

WHO is actively involved in rebuilding existing therapeutic feeding centres and, in addition, has distributed 120 nutritional kits to all centres in Yemen. These life-saving kits can treat up to 6000 cases of severe acute malnutrition. WHO is also training health workers whose role is to work in and manage the centres. To date, WHO has trained 164 health workers at these centres located in 10 of the worst affected governorates.

This is about response and rebuilding, which has prompted WHO to actively monitor the quality of care provided in the therapeutic feeding centres. The focus is on training health workers in “real time” to ensure these centres are able to effectively treat people who suffer from malnutrition. The treatment is free of charge and patients receive milk and medicines, as well as health education for those who come to the TFCs.

The Secretary-General Message for the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation

6 February 2018

Female genital mutilation is a gross violation of the human rights of women and girls.

Over 200 million women and girls alive today have experienced female genital mutilation in 30 countries across three continents.

Without concerted, accelerated action, a further 68 million girls could be subjected to this harmful practice by 2030.

With strong political engagement, we are seeing success in several countries. But this progress is not enough to keep up with population growth. Unless we act now, the number of cases will continue to rise.

Sustainable development cannot be achieved without full respect for the human rights of women and girls. Sustainable Development Goal 5, with a focus on gender equality, calls for the elimination of female genital mutilation by 2030.

Together with the European Union, the United Nations has launched the Spotlight Initiative, a global, multi-year undertaking that aims to create strong partnerships and align efforts to end all forms of violence against women and girls, including female genital mutilation.

With the dignity, health and well-being of millions of girls at stake, there is no time to waste. Together, we can and must end this harmful practice.

اليونيسف: مصرع 83 طفلا في 5 دول عربية خلال شهر يناير

نساء وأطفال يتنقلون عبر حطام المباني والمركبات التي دمرت أثناء القتال المكثف أثناء فرارهم إلى مناطق آمنة في الموصل بالعراق – الصورة: اليونيسف / Romenzi


قتل 83 طفلا خلال شهر يناير/كانون الثاني بسبب تصاعد العنف في العراق وليبيا وفلسطين وسوريا واليمن، ليدفعوا أغلى ثمن لحروب لا ذنب لهم فيها على الإطلاق كما قال خيرت كابالاري المدير الإقليمي لمنظمة اليونيسف في منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا. 

وأضاف كابالاري، في بيان صحفي، أن ملايين الأطفال في المنطقة قد سلبت منهم طفولتهم أو تشوهوا مدى الحياة أو تعرضوا للصدمات والاعتقال والاحتجاز والاستغلال والحرمان من التعليم والخدمات الصحية وأبسط حقوقهم، ألا وهو اللعب.

وقال إن الجميع يفشل في وقف الحرب على الأطفال، مؤكدا عدم وجود أي مبرر لذلك وداعيا إلى عدم تقبل هذا الوضع أو اعتباره أمرا عاديا.

وشدد المسؤول الدولي على الأهمية القصوى لحماية الأطفال في كل الظروف، بما يتوافق مع قانون الحرب. وقال إن انتهاك هذا القانون هو أشنع جريمة ويعرض المستقبل، لا الأطفال فقط، للخطر.

– في سوريا أفادت التقارير بمقتل 59 طفلا خلال الشهر الماضي مع دخول الصراع عامه الثامن.

– في اليمن تحققت الأمم المتحدة من مقتل 16 طفلا أثناء هجمات بأنحاء البلاد. وتتلقى اليونيسف يوميا تقارير عن مقتل وإصابة أطفال مع تصاعد النزاع.

– في بنغازي، بشرق ليبيا قتل 3 أطفال في هجوم انتحاري وثلاثة آخرون أثناء لعبهم قرب ذخائر غير منفجرة.

– في الموصل، بالعراق، قتل طفل في منزل وضعت فيه عبوات مفخخة.

– في فلسطين، قتل طفل قرب مدينة رام الله.

– في لبنان، لقي 16 لاجئا مصرعهم من بينهم أربعة أطفال، تجمدا من شدة البرد أثناء فرارهم من سوريا المجاورة وسط عاصفة شتوية قاسية.

غضب أممي إزاء غرق أكثر من 30 لاجئا ومهاجرا قبالة سواحل عدن

من الأرشيف: فرق المنظمة الدولية للهجرة تساعد مهاجرين صوماليين وإثيوبيين في اليمن. Photo: IOM


أعربت المنظمة الدولية للهجرة ومفوضية الأمم المتحدة السامية لشؤون اللاجئين عن شعورها بالغضب والحزن إزاء غرق ما لا يقل عن 30 لاجئا ومهاجرا قبالة ساحل عدن في وقت سابق من هذا الأسبوع.

ووفق ما جاء في بيان صحفي مشترك صدر عن الوكالتين، أبلغ الناجون من الحادث موظفي الأمم المتحدة والشركاء أن قاربا مكتظا بـ 152 صوماليا وإثيوبيا على الأقل غادر في الـ 23 يناير / كانون الثاني من ساحل البريقة في عدن عبر خليج عدن باتجاه جيبوتي.

من جنيف، جويل ميلمان المتحدث باسم المنظمة الدولية للهجرة:

“يعتقد أن القارب كان يدار من قبل مهربين عديمي الضمير كانوا يحاولون أخذ اللاجئين والمهاجرين إلى جيبوتي، وفي نفس الوقت يحاولون أيضا ابتزاز المزيد من الأموال منهم. انقلب القارب وسط تقارير تفيد بإطلاق النار على الركاب. من بين الركاب الذين كانوا على متن القارب، كان هناك 101 إثيوبي و51 صوماليا. لقى ما لا يقل عن 30 شخصا مصرعهم في هذا الحادث المأساوي.”

هذا وتعمل المنظمة الدولية للهجرة والشركاء مع قوات خفر السواحل اليمنية لفهم ملابسات الحادث، كما تقوم فرق الدوريات التابعة للمنظمة بتقديم المساعدة الطارئة للناجين، بما في ذلك المساعدة الطبية والغذاء والمياه وخدمات الدعم النفسي والاجتماعي.

وكانت المنظمة الدولية للهجرة ومفوضية شؤون اللاجئين قد حذرتا منذ زمن طويل من أن النزاع الطويل وانعدام الأمن في اليمن يعرضان اللاجئين والمهاجرين الضعفاء إلى خطر متزايد من انتهاكات حقوق الإنسان، بما في ذلك الاعتقال التعسفي والاحتجاز والاتجار والترحيل.

Overcrowded boat capsizes off Yemen coast, 30 drowned; UN agencies condemn smugglers

Somali refugees wait on Yemen’s Red Sea coast for transport to Aden. Photo: UNHCR/R. Nuri

26 January 2018

At least 30 refugees and migrants drowned when their boat capsized off the coast of Aden, Yemen, the United Nations reported on Friday, saying the overcrowded vessel was believed to have been operated by unscrupulous smugglers who were trying to extort money from the passengers.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) expressed outrage and sadness over the incident, which occurred Tuesday.

“As we have been saying for almost five years now, the preservation of human life is our utmost priority everywhere,” IOM Director William Lacy Swing said Friday in Davos, Switzerland, where he has been part of the UN agency delegation attending the 2018 World Economic Forum.

“Yemen is no exception,” he added

Survivors of the incident have reported to the UN and partners that an overcrowded boat, packed with 101 Ethiopians and 51 Somalis, departed 23 January from the Al Buraiqa coast in Aden, headed across the Gulf of Aden towards Djibouti.

At least 30 people have died in this tragic incident. There have also been reports that gunfire was used against passengers.

“We are deeply troubled by reports of this latest incident,” Mr. Swing stressed.

IOM and partners are working with the Yemeni Coast Guard to further understand the incident and provide emergency assistance to survivors, including medicine, food, water and psycho-social support services.

IOM and the Un refugee agency have long been warning that prolonged conflict and insecurity in Yemen exposes vulnerable refugees and migrants to a heightened risk of human rights violations, such as arbitrary arrest, detention, trafficking and deportation.

Yemen is a traditional transitory and migratory hub in the region. Despite prevailing conflict and rapidly deteriorating humanitarian conditions more than 87,000 migrants and refugees risked their lives on the high seas in 2017 – seeking to reach Yemen from the Horn of Africa by boat.

To raise awareness about the horrendous risks and dangers in Yemen, UNHCR launched a Dangerous Crossings regional awareness campaign last year to inform those contemplating the journey.

IOM, UNHCR and their partners are members of the Mixed Migration Working Group in Yemen, which has been responding to the needs of migrants and refugees there. The Group is appealing for more urgent support to respond to the needs of those most vulnerable in Yemen and to actively pursue solutions for refugees and migrants.