70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Human Rights

Solutions to World’s Problems Lie in Upholding Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Secretary-General emphasizes in Observance Message
10 December 2018
Following are UN Secretary General António Guterres’ remarks at the high level event to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in Marrakesh, Morocco today:

The profound language and the symbolic significance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights have made it the world’s most widely translated document. Its adoption marked the first time that countries had ever come together to recognize that all people, everywhere, share fundamental, inalienable rights.

The economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights enshrined in this foundational document belong to everyone, regardless of race, colour, gender, language, faith or opinion. Over seven decades, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has inspired millions of women and men to demand their rights and contest the forces of oppression, exploitation, discrimination and injustice. It has given rise to a rich body of legally binding international human rights treaties and it continues to be an inspiration to people around the world.

But the Universal Declaration is much more than a source of inspiration and a statement of principles. Its 30 articles constitute practical measures for advancing peace and inclusive sustainable development. It has given birth to movements by groups of all kinds, from indigenous peoples to persons with disabilities. Its principles are embedded in national legislations and regional treaties, and more than 90 states have enshrined its language in their Constitutions.

No one ever loses their human rights, no matter what they do or who they are. So, it is apt that the first day of this conference to adopt the Global Compact for Migration is taking place on the seventieth anniversary of the General Assembly’s adoption of the Universal Declaration.

The Compact is a new and important step towards safety and dignity for millions of people. It sets out in practical terms how Member States and other stakeholders can respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of all migrants, in line with the Universal Declaration.

Seventy years ago, after the Holocaust and the carnage of the Second World War, our forebears drafted 30 articles that lay out the “foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”. They hoped the lessons of war would spare their children, and successive generations, from a similar fate. We ignore these lessons and this guidance at our peril.

It saddens me to say that, in this year marking the seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the human rights agenda is losing ground and authoritarianism is on the rise. People all over the world still endure constraints on — or even total denial — of their human rights. Torture, extrajudicial killings, detention without trial and other egregious human rights violations still persist. Gender inequality remains a pressing issue — with untold women and girls facing daily insecurity, violence and violation of their rights. We are also seeing a groundswell of xenophobia, racism and intolerance, including anti Semitism and anti Muslim hatred.

I am particularly concerned about the growth of intolerance and the shrinking space for civil society. Today human rights and their defenders are under increasing pressure in all regions. This will not solve any of the challenges the world faces. The solutions to society’s problems lie in staying bound to our shared commitment to uphold the human rights and the inherent dignity and equality of each human being.

Human rights are the cornerstone of State sovereignty; they are a tool to help States and societies grow and be resilient. They help empower women and girls. They help advance development. They help prevent conflict and ensure a just, equitable and prosperous world.

But much remains to be done to make human rights a reality for all. As true custodians of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, your continued commitment to the rights it enshrines is critical. Let us all keep the beacon of this towering document alight so it can guide us all on the path of peace, dignity, security and opportunity for all. Thank you.


70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet
Geneva (6 December 2018) –
On 10 December, we mark the 70th anniversary of that extraordinary document, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

It is, I firmly believe, as relevant today as it was when it was adopted 70 years ago.

Arguably even more so, as over the passing decades, it has passed from being an aspirational treatise into a set of standards that has permeated virtually every area of international law.

It has withstood the tests of the passing years, and the advent of dramatic new technologies and social, political and economic developments that its drafters could not have foreseen…

…Born out of the devastation of two World Wars, the Great Depression of the 1930s, and the Holocaust, the Universal Declaration is geared to prevent similar disasters, and the tyranny and violations which caused them. It sets out ways to prevent us from continuing to harm each other, and aims to provide us with “freedom from fear and want.”

It sets limits on the powerful, and inspires hope among the powerless.

Over the seven decades since its adoption, the Universal Declaration has underpinned countless beneficial changes in the lives of millions of people across the world, permeating some 90 national Constitutions and numerous national, regional and international laws and institutions.

But, 70 years after its adoption, the work the Universal Declaration lays down for us to do is far from over. And it never will be.

In 30 crystal-clear articles, the Universal Declaration shows us the measures which will end extreme poverty, and provide food, housing, health, education, jobs and opportunities for everyone.

It lights the path to a world without wars and Holocausts, without torture or famine or injustice. A world where misery is minimized and no one is too rich or powerful to evade justice.

A world where every human has the same worth as every other human, not just at birth but for the duration of their entire lives.

The drafters wanted to prevent another war by tackling the root causes, by setting down the rights everyone on the planet could expect and demand simply because they exist – and to spell out in no uncertain terms what cannot be done to human beings…

I am convinced that the human rights ideal, laid down in this Declaration, has been one of the most constructive advances of ideas in human history – as well as one of the most successful. But today, that progress is under threat.

We are born ‘free and equal,’ but millions of people on this planet do not stay free and equal. Their dignity is trampled and their rights are violated on a daily basis.

In many countries, the fundamental recognition that all human beings are equal, and have inherent rights, is under attack. The institutions so painstakingly set up by States to achieve common solutions to common problems are being undermined.

And the comprehensive web of international, regional and national laws and treaties that gave teeth to the vision of the Universal Declaration is also being chipped away by governments and politicians increasingly focused on narrow, nationalist interests.

We all need to stand up more energetically for the rights it showed us everyone should have – not just ourselves, but all our fellow human beings – and which we are at constant risk of eroding through our own, and our leaders’ forgetfulness, neglect or wanton disregard.

I will end, where the Universal Declaration begins, with the powerful promise – and warning – contained in the first lines of its Preamble:

“…Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.

“…Disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief, and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people.

“…It is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse as a last resort to rebellion against tyranny and oppression that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.”

And we would do well to pay more attention to the final words of that same Preamble:

“…every individual and every organ of society keeping this Declaration constantly in mind shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.”

We have come a long way down this path since 1948. We have taken many of progressive measures prescribed by the Universal Declaration at the national and international levels.

But we still have a long way to go, and too many of our leaders seem to have forgotten these powerful and prophetic words. We need to rectify that, not just today, not just on the 70th anniversary next Monday, but every day, every year.

Human rights defenders the world over are on the frontlines of defending the Universal Declaration through their work, their dedication and their sacrifice. No matter where we live or what our circumstances are, most of us do have the power to make a difference – to make our homes, communities, countries, and our world better – or worse – for others. Each of us needs to do our part to breathe life into the beautiful dream of the Universal Declaration.

For this was the gift of our ancestors, to help us avoid ever having to go through what they went through.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the UN General Assembly at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris three years after the end of World War II. It was the product of 18 months’ work by a drafting committee, with members and advisers from all across the world, and – in the words of one of its principal architects, René Cassin – “at the end of one hundred sessions of elevated, often impassioned discussion, was adopted in the form of 30 articles on December 10, 1948.”

A series of 30 short articles on each of the 30 Articles of the Universal Declaration


Statement by USAID Administrator Mark Green on International Human Rights Day
December 10, 2018
On this International Human Rights Day, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) reaffirms our commitment to promoting and advancing human rights and human dignity around the world. As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims, the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family are the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world. On behalf of the American people, USAID works to advance those ideals each day. As we strive to promote democratic values abroad, and advance a free, peaceful, and prosperous world, we recognize that support for the human rights of all is critical towards advancing our mission.

The threats to human rights and liberty are not limited to one country or region. In my travels as Administrator, I have seen first-hand that our work in protecting the human rights of all mankind is far from over. When I visited Bangladesh, I met with Rohingya families who had suffered devastating violence in Burma merely because of their ethnicity and religious beliefs. In the Middle East, I spoke with survivors of the so-called Islamic State’s brutality, and pledged that the United States would always be by their side as they seek to rebuild their communities.

On International Human Rights Day, we recommit ourselves towards meeting the shared commitments of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, reiterate our offer of assistance to those in need, and call on every country to respect the human rights and dignity of all people.

We are former senators. The Senate has long stood in defense of democracy — and must again … By 44 Former U.S. Senators

Governance – Inflection Point in United States

We are former senators. The Senate has long stood in defense of democracy — and must again
By 44 Former U.S. Senators
Washington Post, December 10, 2018

Dear Senate colleagues,
As former members of the U.S. Senate, Democrats and Republicans, it is our shared view that we are entering a dangerous period, and we feel an obligation to speak up about serious challenges to the rule of law, the Constitution, our governing institutions and our national security.

We are on the eve of the conclusion of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation and the House’s commencement of investigations of the president and his administration. The likely convergence of these two events will occur at a time when simmering regional conflicts and global power confrontations continue to threaten our security, economy and geopolitical stability.
It is a time, like other critical junctures in our history, when our nation must engage at every level with strategic precision and the hand of both the president and the Senate.

We are at an inflection point in which the foundational principles of our democracy and our national security interests are at stake, and the rule of law and the ability of our institutions to function freely and independently must be upheld.

During our service in the Senate, at times we were allies and at other times opponents, but never enemies. We all took an oath swearing allegiance to the Constitution. Whatever united or divided us, we did not veer from our unwavering and shared commitment to placing our country, democracy and national interest above all else.

At other critical moments in our history, when constitutional crises have threatened our foundations, it has been the Senate that has stood in defense of our democracy. Today is once again such a time.
Regardless of party affiliation, ideological leanings or geography, as former members of this great body, we urge current and future senators to be steadfast and zealous guardians of our democracy by ensuring that partisanship or self-interest not replace national interest.

Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Bill Bradley (D-N.J.), Richard Bryan (D-Nev.), Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.), Max Cleland (D-Ga.), William Cohen (R-Maine), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Al D’Amato (R-N.Y.), John C. Danforth (R-Mo.), Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), Dennis DeConcini (D-Ariz.), Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), David Durenberger (R-Minn.), Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), Wyche Fowler (D-Ga.), Bob Graham (D-Fla.), Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Gary Hart (D-Colo.), Bennett Johnston (D-La.), Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Paul Kirk (D-Mass.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), Larry Pressler (R-S.D.), David Pryor (D-Ark.), Don Riegle (D-Mich.), Chuck Robb (D-Va.), Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Jim Sasser (D-Tenn.), Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), John W. Warner (R-Va.), Lowell Weicker (I-Conn.), Tim Wirth (D-Colo.)

World Leaders Adopt First-Ever Global Compact on Migration


World Leaders Adopt First-Ever Global Compact on Migration, Outlining Framework to Protect Millions of Migrants, Support Countries Accommodating Them
MARRAKECH, Morocco, 10 December — World leaders adopted the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration today, laying out the first-ever global cooperation framework for sharing responsibility to protect the world’s 258 million people on the move — 3.4 per cent of its population — and supporting the host communities working to accommodate them…


The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration
PDF: http://undocs.org/en/A/CONF.231/3
The Global Compact for Migration is the first-ever UN global agreement on a common approach to international migration in all its dimensions. The global compact is non-legally binding. It is grounded in values of state sovereignty, responsibility-sharing, non-discrimination, and human rights, and recognizes that a cooperative approach is needed to optimize the overall benefits of migration, while addressing its risks and challenges for individuals and communities in countries of origin, transit and destination.

The global compact comprises 23 objectives for better managing migration at local, national, regional and global levels. The compact:
:: aims to mitigate the adverse drivers and structural factors that hinder people from building and maintaining sustainable livelihoods in their countries of origin;
:: intends to reduce the risks and vulnerabilities migrants face at different stages of migration by respecting, protecting and fulfilling their human rights and providing them with care and assistance;
:: seeks to address the legitimate concerns of states and communities, while recognizing that societies are undergoing demographic, economic, social and environmental changes at different scales that may have implications for and result from migration;
:: strives to create conducive conditions that enable all migrants to enrich our societies through their human, economic and social capacities, and thus facilitate their contributions to sustainable development at the local, national, regional and global levels.

The list of the 23 objectives can be found in paragraph 16 of the Global Compact for Migration:

Objectives for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration
…16. With the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants we adopted a political declaration and a set of commitments. Reaffirming that Declaration in its entirety, we build upon it by laying
out the following cooperative framework comprised of 23 objectives, implementation, as well as follow-up and review. Each objective contains a commitment, followed by a range of actions
considered to be relevant policy instruments and best practices. To fulfil the 23 objectives, we will draw from these actions to achieve safe, orderly and regular migration along the migration
(1) Collect and utilize accurate and disaggregated data as a basis for evidence-based policies
(2) Minimize the adverse drivers and structural factors that compel people to leave their country of origin
(3) Provide accurate and timely information at all stages of migration
(4) Ensure that all migrants have proof of legal identity and adequate documentation
(5) Enhance availability and flexibility of pathways for regular migration
(6) Facilitate fair and ethical recruitment and safeguard conditions that ensure decent work
(7) Address and reduce vulnerabilities in migration
(8) Save lives and establish coordinated international efforts on missing migrants
(9) Strengthen the transnational response to smuggling of migrants
(10) Prevent, combat
(11) Manage borders in an integrated, secure and coordinated manner
(12) Strengthen certainty and predictability in migration procedures for appropriate screening, assessment and referral
(13) Use migration detention only as a measure of last resort and work towards alternatives
(14) Enhance consular protection, assistance and cooperation throughout the migration cycle
(15) Provide access to basic services for migrants
(16) Empower migrants and societies to realize full inclusion and social cohesion
(17) Eliminate all forms of discrimination and promote evidence-based public discourse to shape perceptions of migration
(18) Invest in skills development and facilitate mutual recognition of skills, qualifications and competences
(19) Create conditions for migrants and diasporas to fully contribute to sustainable development in all countries
(20) Promote faster, safer and cheaper transfer of remittances and foster financial inclusion of migrants
(21) Cooperate in facilitating safe and dignified return and readmission, as well as sustainable reintegration
(22) Establish mechanisms for the portability of social security entitlements and earned benefits
(23) Strengthen international cooperation and global partnerships for safe, orderly and regular migration

UNAIDS Board calls for immediate implementation of UNAIDS agenda for change

Governance – UNAIDS

Sweden suspends funding for UN Aids agency as Britain urged to follow suit
Swedish minister calls for Michel Sidibé to step down after report alleging harassment and favouritism at agency
The Guardian, Wed 12 Dec 2018 15.52 GMT Last modified on Wed 12 Dec 2018 15.53 GMT
Rebecca Ratcliffe
The Swedish government has announced it is to withhold funding to a UN agency until its director resigns in a row over his “dysfunctional leadership”.
UNAids, which spearheads the global fight against Aids and HIV, will receive no further funding until its executive director, Michel Sidibé, stands down, said Isabella Lövin, Sweden’s minister for international development cooperation and climate.
The warning follows a scathing report that condemned a patriarchal culture within the organisation.
Britain has been attacked by campaigners for not taking a similarly strong stance. The UK’s Department for International Development (DfID), is also a key donor.
Sweden, UNAid’s second biggest donor after the US, contributed 260m Swedish krona (£22m) in 2017.
UNAids was thrown into an unprecedented crisis after an independent review released on Friday warned of “a patriarchal culture tolerating harassment and abuse of authority”.
Calling for a change of leadership, the report said Sidibé had set a tone of “favouritism, preferment, opaqueness, license for wrongdoing, and retaliation against those who speak up against such practices”.
The report, commissioned following multiple allegations of sexual harassment and bullying, is being discussed by the agency’s oversight body, the Programme Coordinating Board (PCB), this week.
During the session, which began on Tuesday, Sidibé announced that the next board meeting, in June 2019, would be his last, but did not specify when he plans to step down…


UNAIDS Board calls for immediate implementation of UNAIDS agenda for change
Press release
GENEVA, 13 December 2018—The UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) has called on UNAIDS to fully implement the management response (UNAIDS agenda for change) to address harassment, including sexual harassment, bullying and abuse of power, at the UNAIDS Secretariat which was presented to Board members by the Executive Director of UNAIDS on Tuesday 11 December.

The decision was agreed by the members of the PCB at the conclusion of the 43rd meeting of the PCB in Geneva, Switzerland, today. The PCB agreed to establish a working group to oversee the immediate implementation of the management response and to discuss the report of the Independent Expert Panel in a special PCB meeting before March 2019. The PCB also welcomed the statement of the UNAIDS Secretariat Staff Association and the critical role they played in bringing to the PCB’s attention the issue of harassment at the workplace.

“We don’t have a moment to lose in moving forward our management response. Our actions will make UNAIDS stronger and better,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “I look forward to working with all staff to make UNAIDS a model workplace for staff in all their diversity. I look forward to an inclusive, transparent and open dialogue and collaboration with staff in shaping a new UNAIDS.”

The Executive Director of UNAIDS also told the PCB that he wanted to have an orderly transition of leadership at UNAIDS in the final year of his term. He informed the UNAIDS Board that its meeting in June 2019 would be his last Board meeting and he would complete his duties at the end of June 2019.

“I am proud of the successes of UNAIDS. In the past 10 years we have been instrumental in saving millions of lives and averting millions of new HIV infections. The staff of UNAIDS are our greatest asset and I am privileged to serve alongside them,” said Mr Sidibé. “I will work to ensure a smooth transition and pledge to keep my focus on our staff and delivering results for the people we serve.”

UNAIDS’ agenda for change will be critical in ensuring that the staff of UNAIDS can continue to build on these successes and deliver maximum results for people living with and affected by HIV. It focuses on five action areas: a staff-centred approach, compliance and standards, leadership and governance, management and capacity. Each area outlines key actions that the UNAIDS Secretariat will undertake.

UNAIDS reiterates its commitment to lead by example in eliminating all forms of harassment, bullying and abuse of power by creating a respectful, transparent and accountable environment that enables all staff to contribute their full potential to deliver for the people they serve.

UNAIDS Executive Director’s report to PCB-43
13 December 2018 :: 16 pages
PDF: http://www.unaids.org/sites/default/files/media_asset/PCB43_EXD_report_en.pdf

Agenda item 3.1 Report on the work of the Independent Expert Panel on Prevention of and response to harassment, including sexual harassment; bullying and abuse of power at UNAIDS Secretariat
11 December 2018 :: 19 pages
PDF: http://www.unaids.org/sites/default/files/media_asset/20181209_UNAIDS_PCB43_IEP_Bureau_paper_EN.pdf

43rd Meeting of the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board
Geneva, Switzerland
11-13 December 2018
Agenda item 3: Prevention of and response to harassment, including sexual harassment, bullying and abuse of power at the UNAIDS Secretariat
5.1 Recognizes the important contribution and commitment of the UNAIDS Secretariat staff to implement the UNAIDS Strategy and support Member States to achieve the 2016 Political Declaration on Ending AIDS;

5.2 Commits to zero tolerance against harassment, including sexual harassment, bullying and abuse of power to ensure the highest standards in order to create an exemplary workplace in the UNAIDS Secretariat;

5.3 Welcomes the earlier request of the Executive Director to establish the Independent Expert Panel (IEP) on prevention of and response to harassment, including sexual harassment, bullying and abuse of power at the UNAIDS Secretariat;

5.4 Recalls that the PCB endorsed the steps taken by the PCB Bureau in response to this request and agreed that the priority should be for the IEP to be enabled and empowered to provide an authoritative review and a comprehensive set of recommendations pertaining to harassment, including sexual harassment, bullying and abuse of power at the UNAIDS Secretariat;

5.5 Notes that the IEP has presented its report and recommendations to the PCB;

5.6 Notes that the UNAIDS Secretariat has presented its Management Response to the PCB;

5.7 Welcomes the statement by the UNAIDS Secretariat Staff Association (USSA), and recognizes the critical role of the USSA in bringing the PCB’s attention to this important issue;

5.8 Highlights both, the limited circulation time of these important reports and the divergent, varied and differing views expressed by the PCB members and observers;

5.9 Emphasizes that there is consensus on the need for action to address harassment, including sexual harassment, bullying and abuse of power;

5.10 Recognizes with remorse the negative impact of harassment, including sexual harassment, bullying and abuse of power on the staff of the UNAIDS Secretariat and their ability to deliver on the critical mandate of the Joint Programme;

5.11 Notes that some of the recommendations of the IEP and the Management Response have broader implications for the United Nations system;

5.12 Notes that, as part of the Joint Programme’s commitment to transparency and accountability, the IEP report is in the public domain and has been transmitted to the UN Secretary-General by the UNAIDS Secretariat;

5.13 Decides that, at a special session of the PCB no later than March 2019, the PCB after complete consideration of the IEP report may elect or choose to bring specific recommendations to the attention of the UN Secretary-General;

5.14 Decides to establish a working group of the PCB to oversee the immediate implementation of the management response and to further review the conclusions and recommendations contained in the IEP report, and the management response, proposing options to the next PCB meeting, for strengthening the PCB’s monitoring and evaluation role on the UNAIDS Secretariat with the view of ensuring zero tolerance against harassment, including sexual harassment, bullying and abuse of power at the UNAIDS Secretariat;

5.15 Calls on the UNAIDS Secretariat to:
a. Fully implement the actions set out in the Management Response, and develop a more detailed, fully costed Management Action plan, complete with review mechanisms and timeline, with regards to the IEP recommendations, which are under its responsibility, in a robust, measurable, timely and ambitious way for consideration by the PCB by intersessional decision making;
b. Operate to the highest standards to tackle harassment, including sexual harassment, bullying and abuse of power;
c. Provide a Progress Report to the next regular session of the PCB on the implementation of the above actions;

Blockchain: UNICEF, Gavi


UNICEF’s Innovation Fund announces first cohort of blockchain investments in emerging markets
Press release
New York/ 10 December 2018 – Six companies in developing and emerging economies will receive investment from UNICEF’s Innovation Fund to solve global challenges using blockchain technology.

The UNICEF Innovation Fund will invest up to $100,000 USD in the six companies; Atix Labs, Onesmart, Prescrypto, Statwig, Utopixar and W3 Engineers to deliver open-source prototypes of blockchain applications within 12-months.

Selected from more than 100 applications across 50 countries, these six companies will build prototypes and systems for global problems like transparency in health-care delivery, affordable access to mobile phone connectivity, and the ability to direct finances and resources to social-impact projects. They join 20 other technology startups currently under management by the Fund in fields from data science and machine learning, to virtual reality, to drones.

“Blockchain technology is still at an early stage — and there is a great deal of experimentation, failure, and learning ahead of us as we see how, and where, we can use this technology to create a better world,” said Chris Fabian, Principal Adviser, UNICEF Innovation. “That’s exactly the stage when UNICEF Innovation Fund invests: when our financing, technical support, and focus on vulnerable populations can help a technology grow and mature in the most fair and equitable way possible.”

:: Atix Labs (Argentina) will develop a platform for small to medium-sized enterprises to gain access to funding while creating traceability into where the funds are used and measuring the impact.
:: Onesmart (Mexico) will address the misappropriation of funds in emerging markets with the scale of its prototype application, which ensures the delivery of state-provided social services to children and young people.
::Prescrypto (Mexico) will provide a digital solution to the lack of electronic prescriptions in developing countries with a platform that allows medical services providers to view one common history of a patient, and improve the level of care.
:: Statwig (India) will use blockchain solutions to ensure the efficient delivery of vaccines through an enhanced supply-chain management system.
:: Utopixar (Tunisia) will deliver a social collaboration tool for communities and organisations to facilitate participative decision-making and value transfer.

W3 Engineers (Bangladesh), will improve connectivity within the refugee and migrant communities through an offline mobile networking platform without the use of sim cards and internet connection.
These investments are part of UNICEF’s larger blockchain explorations of using smart-contracts for organizational efficiencies, creating distributed decision-making processes, and working to build knowledge and understanding of distributed ledger technology both in the United Nations and in the countries where UNICEF works.

In addition to funding the start-up companies, UNICEF’s Innovation Fund will provide product and technology assistance, support with business growth, and access to a network of experts and partners. The Fund also actively seeks second-round investment and support for companies it has invested in, as well as the opportunity to scale-up these technologies, when they are successful, in the more than 190 countries and territories where UNICEF operates…


Gavi and Germany partner to harness blockchain technology
German government and the Vaccine Alliance to explore the application of blockchain technology to increase efficiency of immunisation programmes.
Abu Dhabi, 11 December 2018 – Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), through the KfW Development Bank, announced at Gavi’s high-level 2018 mid-term review conference in Abu Dhabi, UAE, that they will partner to explore the application of blockchain technology to Gavi’s cash support and supply chain management systems.

Before a vaccine can protect a child, immunisation programmes involve complex planning and procedures. Outdated vaccine supply and distribution systems can delay and limit the impact that vaccines have on people’s health. BMZ, KfW and Gavi recognise that blockchain technology could radically transform health systems by reducing wastage and creating trust amongst development partners, funders and countries.

“Blockchain technology could help us understand in real-time all the steps taken while a vaccine is being delivered,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “This technology has the potential to increase efficiency and reduce costs for developing countries but, most importantly, it could save lives.”

Starting in 2019, the joint project will focus on exploring practical areas of application for this technology in the immunisation space to, for example, effectively track funds and vaccines…

Nearly 30 million sick and premature newborns in dire need of treatment every year

Health – Neonatal Interventions

Press release
Nearly 30 million sick and premature newborns in dire need of treatment every year
Global coalition calls for better care and stronger legislation to save babies on the brink of death
NEW DELHI/ GENEVA /NEW YORK, 13 December 2018: Nearly 30 million babies are born too soon, too small or become sick every year and need specialized care to survive, according to a new report by a global coalition that includes UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO).

“When it comes to babies and their mothers, the right care at the right time in the right place can make all the difference,” said Omar Abdi, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director. “Yet millions of small and sick babies and women are dying every year because they simply do not receive the quality care that is their right and our collective responsibility.”

The report, Survive and Thrive: Transforming care for every small and sick newborn, finds that among the newborn babies most at risk of death and disability are those with complications from prematurity, brain injury during childbirth, severe bacterial infection or jaundice, and those with congenital conditions. Additionally, the financial and psychological toll on their families can have detrimental effects on their cognitive, linguistic and emotional development.

“For every mother and baby, a healthy start from pregnancy through childbirth and the first months after birth is essential,” said Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Deputy Director General for Programmes at WHO. “Universal health coverage can ensure that everyone – including newborns – has access to the health services they need, without facing financial hardship. Progress on newborn health care is a win-win situation – it saves lives and is critical for early child development thus impacting on families, society, and future generations.”

Without specialized treatment, many at-risk newborns won’t survive their first month of life, according to the report. In 2017, some 2.5 million newborns died, mostly from preventable causes. Almost two-thirds of babies who die were born premature. And even if they survive, these babies face chronic diseases or developmental delays. In addition, an estimated 1 million small and sick newborns survive with a long-term disability.

With nurturing care, these babies can live without major complications. The report shows that by 2030, in 81 countries, the lives of 2.9 million women, stillborns and newborns can be saved with smarter strategies. For example, if the same health team cares for both mother and baby through labour, birth and beyond, they can identify problems early on.

In addition, almost 68 per cent of newborn deaths could be averted in 2030 with simple fixes such as exclusive breastfeeding; skin-to-skin contact between the mother or father and the baby; medicines and essential equipment; and access to clean, well-equipped health facilities staffed by skilled health workers. Other measures like resuscitating a baby who cannot breathe properly, giving the mother an injection to prevent bleeding, or delaying the cutting of the umbilical cord could also save millions.

According to the report, the world will not achieve the global target to achieve health for all unless it transforms care for every newborn. Without rapid progress, some countries will not meet this target for another 11 decades. To save newborns, the report recommends:
:: Providing round-the-clock inpatient care for newborns seven days a week.
:: Training nurses to provide hands-on care working in partnership with families.
:: Harnessing the power of parents and families by teaching them how to become expert caregivers and care for their babies, which can reduce stress, help babies gain weight and allow their brains to develop properly.
:: Providing good quality of care should be a part of country policies, and a lifelong investment for those who are born small or sick.
:: Counting and tracking every small and sick newborn allows managers to monitor progress and improve results.
:: Allocating the necessary resources, as an additional investment of US$ 0.20 cents per person can save 2 of every 3 newborns in low- and middle-income countries by 2030.

Almost three decades ago, the Convention on the Rights of the Child guaranteed every newborn the right to the highest standard of health care, and it is time for countries around the world to make sure the legislative, medical, human and financial resources are in place to turn that right into a reality for every child, the report says.

Associations between sex work laws and sex workers’ health: A systematic review and meta-analysis of quantitative and qualitative studies

Featured Journal Content

PLoS Medicine
(Accessed 15 Dec 2018)
Research Article
Associations between sex work laws and sex workers’ health: A systematic review and meta-analysis of quantitative and qualitative studies
Sex workers are at disproportionate risk of violence and sexual and emotional ill health, harms that have been linked to the criminalisation of sex work. We synthesised evidence on the extent to which sex work laws and policing practices affect sex workers’ safety, health, and access to services, and the pathways through which these effects occur…
Together, the qualitative and quantitative evidence demonstrate the extensive harms associated with criminalisation of sex work, including laws and enforcement targeting the sale and purchase of sex, and activities relating to sex work organisation. There is an urgent need to reform sex-work-related laws and institutional practices so as to reduce harms and barriers to the realisation of health.
Lucy Platt, Pippa Grenfell, Rebecca Meiksin, Jocelyn Elmes, Susan G. Sherman, Teela Sanders, Peninah Mwangi, Anna-Louise Crago
| published 11 Dec 2018 PLOS Medicine
Author summary
Why was this study done?
:: To our knowledge there has been no evidence synthesis of qualitative and quantitative literature examining the impacts of criminalisation on sex workers’ safety and health, or the pathways that realise these effects.
:: This evidence is critical to informing evidenced-based policy-making, and timely given the growing interest in models of decriminalisation of sex work or criminalising the purchase of sex (the latter recently introduced in Canada, France, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, and Serbia).

What did the researchers do and find?
:: We undertook a mixed-methods review comprising meta-analyses and qualitative synthesis to measure the magnitude of associations, and related pathways, between criminalisation and sex workers’ experience of violence, sexual (including HIV and sexually transmitted infections [STIs]) and emotional health, and access to health and social care services.
:: We searched bibliographic databases for qualitative and quantitative research, categorising lawful and unlawful police repression, including criminal and administrative penalties within different legislative models.
:: Meta-analyses suggest that on average repressive policing practices of sex workers were associated with increased risk of sexual/physical violence from clients or other partners across 9 studies and 5,204 participants.
:: Sex workers who had been exposed to repressive policing practices were on average at increased risk of infection with HIV/STI compared to those who had not, across 12,506 participants from 11 studies. Repressive policing of sex workers was associated with increased risk of condomless sex across 9,447 participants from 4 studies.
:: The qualitative synthesis showed that in contexts of any criminalisation, repressive policing of sex workers, their clients, and/or sex work venues disrupted sex workers’ work environments, support networks, safety and risk reduction strategies, and access to health services and justice. It demonstrated how policing within all criminalisation and regulation frameworks exacerbated existing marginalisation, and how sex workers’ relationships with police, access to justice, and negotiating powers with clients have improved in decriminalised contexts.

What do these findings mean?
:: The quantitative evidence clearly shows the association between repressive policing within frameworks of full or partial sex work criminalisation—including the criminalisation of clients and the organisation of sex work—and adverse health outcomes.
:: Qualitative evidence demonstrates how repressive policing of sex workers, their clients, and/or sex work venues deprioritises sex workers’ safety, health, and rights and hinders access to due process of law. The removal of criminal and administrative sanctions for sex work is needed to improve sex workers’ health and access to services and justice.
:: More research is needed in order to document how criminalisation and decriminalisation interact with other structural factors, policies, and realities (e.g., poverty, housing, drugs, and immigration) in different contexts, to inform appropriate interventions and advocacy alongside legal reform.