standing together. @IsraelMFA & @IsraelinMiami send Israel’s trauma coalition specialists to “help the helpers” by training teachers, social workers & psychologists deal with Parkland school shooting. #ParklandStrong #StonemanDouglas. https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/Israeli-Group-Hopes-to-Share-Knowledge-to-Help-South-Florida-Heal-After-Parkland-475355743.html …
Thank you Mr President.
And thank you also to Under-Secretary Generals Lowcock and Feltman for their clear and factual briefings and for reiterating to all of us on this Council the ongoing horror of the conflict in Syria, and in particular in Eastern Ghouta, because that is where it is clear the situation is most dire by a huge order of magnitude.
It was five days ago that we sat in this Council and all of us raised our hands in support of a 30-day ceasefire, which we hoped would provide some relief to Syria’s people. This was a desperately needed step. A step that came too late for many. In Eastern Ghouta alone, Médecins Sans Frontières reported that at least 630 people were killed and 3,000 injured in the week before Resolution 2401 was agreed, with women and children representing nearly 60 percent of the wounded and 50 percent of the deceased. We continue, as well, to condemn attacks on Damascus from Eastern Ghouta.
Let us recall the demands of our resolution. It called for at least a 30-day ceasefire, without delay, to allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid and medical evacuation.
Without delay means right now. Immediately. That there should be no delay. We all voted for these demands and we committed to use our influence to ensure this.
In response, Russia has declared a five-hour daily humanitarian window. That is not what this Council demanded, nor what Russia agreed to use its influence to ensure. A five-hour window has not delivered and cannot deliver any meaningful improvement on the ground. Under-Secretary General Lowcock has made clear that the United Nations cannot get humanitarian convoys in and out within that timeframe, as has the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Humanitarian pauses of a few meagre hours are no substitute for a sustained ceasefire, which is vital to ensure delivery of life-saving humanitarian assistance and medical evacuations. If Russia is able to deliver a five-hour pause, let it deliver a 24 hour one, as they agreed on Saturday.
Let us now take stock of the situation in Syria, and specifically in Eastern Ghouta where the situation is at its most desperate, and review if any real change has occurred in the past five days. Has the resolution been implemented? Has there been a ceasefire? Any delivery of humanitarian aid? Or any medical evacuations? Has the passing of this resolution bought any relief to the people of Syria?
The fighting has not stopped. All of the main armed opposition groups have committed to the full implementation of Resolution 2401. The Assad regime has not, and has in fact ignored the resolution we passed. Reports of attacks and airstrikes by pro-regime forces continue. 22 airstrikes reportedly took place even during Russia’s so-called humanitarian pause.
And, as if it could not get any worse, there have been disturbing reports of use of chlorine gas. Doctors in Eastern Ghouta reported to the Syrian American Medical Society that 16 patients, including six children, were suffering from symptoms indicative to exposure to chemical compounds following an alleged regime attack on Sunday, only one day after the resolution was passed.
Since Saturday, not a single aid convoy has been able to access Eastern Ghouta to provide relief to the desperate civilians.
The World Health Organisation estimates that one thousand people are now in need of medical evacuation from Eastern Ghouta. None have been evacuated since the resolution was passed.
The consequences of the failure to implement the resolution are clear. The casualties continue to rise. The horror continues. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights report at least 14 civilians, including three children, were killed on Sunday.
In short, in the words of one doctor from Eastern Ghouta, “nothing has changed.”
It is the responsibility of us all to ensure that Resolution 2401 is enacted in full.
In the words of my Foreign Secretary, “The Assad regime must allow the UN to deliver humanitarian aid, in compliance with Resolution 2401, and we look to Russia and Iran to make sure this happens, in accordance with their own promises.”
I implore all those with influence over the Syrian regime to act now to ensure that the ceasefire, which they supported in this chamber, is implemented in full and immediately.
To do anything less is an affront to this Council, this United Nations and the international system that we live by.
We will continue to monitor implementation of Resolution 2401 and commit to returning to this Council regularly until we see it respected.
Thank you Mr President.
Remarks: Chairman @RepEdRoyce on Zimbabwe after Mugabe https://foreignaffairs.house.gov/press-release/remarks-chairman-royce-on-zimbabwe-after-mugabe …
Live 2pmET: @RepChrisSmith hearing “Zimbabwe After Mugabe” https://foreignaffairs.house.gov/hearing/subcommittee-hearing-zimbabwe-mugabe …
. @AmherstCollege’s @DrDendere testifies 2pmET at hearing “Zimbabwe After Mugabe” https://foreignaffairs.house.gov/hearing/subcommittee-hearing-zimbabwe-mugabe …
Remarks: Chairman @RepEdRoyce on women, peace and security https://foreignaffairs.house.gov/press-release/remarks-chairman-royce-women-peace-security …
Top companies of the Israeli cyber community visited Copenhagen for a 1 day conference and B2B meetings with Danish companies – huge success with new partnerships forged #CyberThreat18 #CyberSecurity #israel pic.twitter.com/EtZw4dSq6n
“Everyone has a chance to contribute in improving the state of our communities, it doesn’t matter how small the contribution is. Every action counts.” Rebeca Gyumi
The early years
Rebeca was born in Dodoma, Tanzania. The young Rebeca would not have known then the impact she would make on girls and young people up and down the country in years to come.
UNESCO figures show that in 2009 only 24% of girls went onto secondary level education, with literacy rates at 67%. Coupled with socio-cultural factors like early marriages and pregnancies, girls were in a cycle of a lack of education and low literacy. Against this backdrop Rebeca took the decision to better the lives of young people, and particularly girls, in Tanzania.
Rebeca credits her background as one of the factors that have contributed to her drive for advocating for girls’ rights. Growing up, she saw first-hand, how important it is to invest in girls and in women. Her mother played a huge role in her education and that of her siblings, from selling fish to second hand clothes (mitumba), all so her children could go to school. It’s from such experiences that Rebeca aspired to work in advancing girls’ and women’s rights in her community.
The Msichana Initiative
Rebeca founded the Msichana Initiative in 2016. It is a local non-government organisation (NGO) which aims to empower girls through education, addressing the challenges which often hinder a girl’s access to education.
Rebeca’s work through Msichana Initiative has been instrumental in triggering discourse on child marriages and the need to put more effort in ending child marriages in Tanzania. In 2016, Rebeca successfully challenged the country’s Marriage Act of 1971 which allowed girls as young as 14 to marry. She succeeded in bringing the legal age of marriage up to 18 for both girls and boys. Her legal case is also shaping public discussion on the importance of girls’ education and the multiplier effect in investing in a girl child.
Through the initiative she founded, they have established Msichana Clubs (girls’ clubs) in Dar es Salaam, Moshi, Bagamoyo, Dodoma and Lindi. These girls’ empowerment clubs create space for boys and girls to talk about gender equality issues in their areas and learn to be empathetic towards each other.
Creating safe space
Through community outreach, the Msichana Initiative has facilitated the establishment of 12 Child Protection Teams (CPTs) in Bahi, Kongwa and Chamwino districts in Dodoma, Tanzania’s capital city. The CPTs are linked with Msichana Cafes which are informal community platforms for identifying, discussing and finding solutions for key pressing issues which girls are facing in their communities like child marriages, teen pregnancy and abuse. To date, there are 10 Msichana cafes which have identified and solved 12 cases on protection of girls’ rights in collaboration with the Police Gender Desk.
Rebeca is a staunch advocate for safe schools and better quality education. Her engagement with the youth of the country on key issues like sexual health and economic empowerment has allowed open conversations with decision makers. Through Agenda ya Msichana Forum, an annual girls’ conference which the organisation initiated, 800 girls from different parts of the country get to meet with key decision makers and talk about pressing issues that are limiting their access to education.
British Embassy, Dar es Salaam
Rebeca has also been working with the British High Commissioner in Tanzania, Sarah Cooke, to roll out the Adopt-a-School programme, a mentoring programme for young school girls in Tanzania. The programme started when the High Commissioner rolled out a mentoring scheme working with young girls. This collaboration with Rebeca saw the scheme evolve bringing together women leaders, professionals, activists, and entrepreneurs in various sectors to mentor young school girls and help them become the best they can be.
Through the Adopt-a-School mentorship programme, Rebeca and Sarah have been able to reach girls who would not typically have access to mentors, and who would typically need encouragement to stay in school and to dream big. With this powerful partnership, the programme has also been able to bring on board successful women leaders in Tanzania as mentors. Recently Flaviana Matata, a Tanzanian super model and philanthropist, joined the mentorship programme as a mentor.
Recognition and the future
Rebeca has been recognised globally for her efforts in advancing the rights of girls and the youth. In 2016 she was named as a 2016 UNICEF global goals award winner for work on girl’s rights in Tanzania. In the same year, New African Woman magazine named her as one of the 2016 African Women of the Year.
As 2018 starts, girls in Tanzania can dream of a bright future and opportunities not open to those who came before them. Rebeca Gyumi, the Human Rights Defender for girl’s rights, has shown that with a determined agenda and a cause worth fighting for, change can happen.
“Ensuring every girl has access to education means girls marrying at a right age, a drop in teen pregnancy rate and reduced maternal and infant mortality in our country. Investing in girls’ education is a right thing and a smart move.” Rebeca Gyumi