Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Focus placed on education as UN women’s commission begins annual session

Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro addresses 55th session of the Commission on the Status of Women

22 February 2011 – Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro today underscored the importance of education in raising the status of women in society and called for greater investment in measures to ensure gender equality, deploring the fact that two-thirds of illiterate adults across the world are female.

“Investing in women and girls is a force multiplier,” Ms. Migiro told the opening of the two-week session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women at UN Headquarters. “Not only is education a key driver of economic growth, it is also a catalyst for empowering women,” she added.

Ms. Migiro pointed out that global commitments to achieving universal primary education and gender parity, at all levels of education, have had a beneficial impact on girls’ school enrolment and retention rates in many countries, but the quality of education has not kept pace, particularly in the developing world.

“Many children leave school without basic literacy and numeracy skills. Girls and women are under-represented in science and technology, education and employment. They are simply not getting the knowledge and skills they need for today’s competitive and changing job market.

“Your discussions at this session can help connect the dots among those key issues affecting women’s prospects and well-being,” said Ms. Migiro.

She said the launch of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) will galvanize worldwide efforts to realize the rights and opportunities of women and girls.

“UN Women will build on the strong foundation of international norms and policies developed by the United Nations over decades. It will provide a strong and unified voice. It will work throughout the United Nations system to strengthen coherence and to ensure accountability,” said Ms. Migiro.

She also encouraged the Commission, a functional body of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), to explore ways to reinforce the new Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, which aims to save the lives of more than 16 million women and children over the next four years.

Michelle Bachelet, the Executive Director of UN Women, noted that despite progress in the status of women in many fields, women continue to be trafficked, girls are forced to drop out of school to get married and many women and girls lack access to social services.

“Worldwide, there are too few women who are at decision-making tables when peace, trade or climate change agreements are being negotiated,” Ms. Bachelet told members of the Commission.

“The specific and urgent challenges of reaching women – especially in rural areas, in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, is something that we need to hear more about,” she said, referring to the anti-poverty goals world leaders have pledged to achieve by 2015.

“The ways that women are affected by natural disasters, as well as conflict and displacement and the challenges they face gaining access to decision-making in every sector are also important topics for this body,” she said.

Outlining UN Women’s thematic priorities, Ms. Bachelet said the agency will focus on expanding women’s voice, leadership and participation; ending violence against women; strengthening the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda; enhancing women’s economic empowerment; and making gender equality a priority in national, local and sectoral planning and budgeting.

The priority theme of the Commission’s session this year is “Access and participation of women and girls in education, training and, science and technology.”

“Women must be encouraged to have equal access to ICT [information and communications technology] training and education as well as the new employment and entrepreneurial opportunities generated by ICTs,” said Ms. Bachelet. “Women globally are challenging gender stereotypes about ICT users and demanding the right to participate in ICT research and development,” she added.

Lazarous Kapambwe, the President of ECOSOC, spoke out against gender stereotypes in education, which he said led both women and men to segregated careers paths, with adverse consequences for women in economic opportunity and the labour market.

He pointed out that women’s participation in the labour force in 2008 was estimated at 52.6 per cent, compared to 77.5 per cent for men. In the 20-24 age group, women continued to lag behind men in labour force participation in all regions, with South Asian recording the greatest gap at 82 of per cent of men and 27 per cent of women employed or seeking employment, Mr. Kapambwe said.

“While Governments have primary responsibility for achieving the goals of gender equality and women’s empowerment, partnerships and strategic alliances among all stakeholders are key to achieving effective, concrete and measurable results for women and girls,” he said.

Libya: Security Council, UN officials urge end to use of force against protesters

Libyan people take part in a protest in Tobruk, 20 February 2011

22 February 2011 – The Security Council and top United Nations officials today urged the Libyan Government to immediately end its violent crackdown on protesters and to meet its responsibility to protect its population.

Council members “condemned the violence and use of force against civilians, deplored the repression against peaceful demonstrators, and expressed deep regret at the deaths of hundreds of civilians,” Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil, which holds the monthly presidency of the 15-member body for February, said in a statement read out to the press following closed-door talks on the crisis.

“They called for an immediate end to the violence and for steps to address the legitimate demands of the population, including through national dialogue,” she said.

Council members also called on the Government to meet its responsibility to protect its population, act with restraint, respect human rights and international humanitarian law, and allow immediate access for human rights monitors and humanitarian agencies.

“They underscored the need to hold to account those responsible for attacks, including by forces under their control, on civilians,” the statement added.

Mr. Ban, in a statement issued by his spokesperson on Monday, said he was “outraged” at press reports that the Libyan authorities have been firing at demonstrators from war planes and helicopters.

“This is unacceptable,” the Secretary-General told reporters in Los Angeles, where his currently on an official visit. “This violence against demonstrators must immediately stop.”

Mr. Ban, who had a 40-minute telephone conversation with Muammar Al-Qadhafi yesterday, said he urged the Libyan leader to stop the violence and strongly underlined the importance of respecting human rights and heeding the aspirations and calls of the demonstrators. Mr. Ban also discussed the situation in Libya in a phone conversation today with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay today called for an immediate cessation of the “grave” rights violations committed by the Libyan authorities and urged an independent investigation into the violent suppression of protests.

“The callousness with which Libyan authorities and their hired guns are reportedly shooting live rounds of ammunition at peaceful protestors is unconscionable. I am extremely worried that lives are being lost even as I speak,” she stated in a news release.

Citing the reported use of machine guns, snipers and military planes against demonstrators, Ms. Pillay said such extremely serious allegations of acts committed in brazen defiance of international law must not go without a full and independent investigation.

“Protection of civilians should always be the paramount consideration in maintaining order and the rule of law. The authorities should immediately cease such illegal acts of violence against demonstrators. Widespread and systematic attacks against the civilian population may amount to crimes against humanity,” she stated.

A group of UN human rights experts also called on the Libyan Government to immediately cease the use of excessive and lethal force. “The situation in Libya is quickly spilling out of control with the Government targeting the very people it has been mandated to serve,” they stated in a news release. “Adopting tactics such as the use of live ammunition to crush dissent is unacceptable.”

The experts voiced concern about the reported use of military planes to attack protesters, the alleged involvement of foreign mercenaries in killing the protesters, and the arbitrary arrests of individuals including lawyers, human rights defenders and journalists.

The Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova, voiced her alarm over the worsening situation in Libya and the continuing clampdown on media and vital information services.

“I call on the Libyan authorities to exercise maximum restraint. I also call on them to respect the right of people to access information, to be able to communicate with one another and for the media to be able to do its job,” she stated.

“Attempting to silence people by repression, by denying them access to vital information services is a violation of basic human rights that can only fuel anger and frustration,” she added.

Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said today that it has become increasingly concerned about dangers for civilians and especially for asylum-seekers and refugees in Libya as many may inadvertently be caught up in this violence.

“We have no access at this time to the refugee community. Over the past months we have been trying to regularize our presence in Libya, and this has constrained our work,” Melissa Fleming, UNHCR’s spokesperson in Geneva, told a news conference.

“Some of the reports we are getting from third-party sources are very worrying. A journalist has passed information to us from Somalis in Tripoli who say they are being hunted on suspicion of being mercenaries. He says they feel trapped and are frightened to go out, even though there is little or no food at home,” she said.

Prior to the current unrest UNHCR had registered over 8,000 refugees in Libya, with a further 3,000 asylum-seekers having pending cases. The agency is asking all countries to recognize the humanitarian needs at this time of all people fleeing targeted violence, threats, and other human rights abuses in Libya.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010



Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Earthquake in China

The World Family Organization would like to express its deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the Earthquake in Qinghai, China.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Opening Ceremonies Olympics will debut 'We Are the World' remake

2010 Olympics Opening Ceremony in Vancouver,
Canada is set to be one of the most watched parts of the Olympics.
Debuting the song sung in a recording studio only a few weeks ago,
'We are the World' will be heard for the first time in Vancouver.

You can see the event LIVE on NBC or NBC Live Online.
Today, Friday February 12, 2010 - 9pm Eastern, 6pm Pacific.

Learn more...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


We are very proud to introduce you to the World Family Organization brand new Online Newsletter – Mobilizing for Action!

We do hope you enjoy this First Edition of 2010 – January/February – and please be aware that WFO will continue to publish the PDF version as well for printing which can be download here.

This is just one of the many news we have reserved for you for 2010. So, please stay tuned in our website – – as there is much more to come!