Tag Archives: United Nations

World Radio Day marked on 13 February

wrd2012The United Nations Secretary General has released a statement to mark World Radio Day on 13 February 2013. The full transcript is available below:

“Since its invention more than 100 years ago, radio has sparked the imagination, opened doors for change, and served as a channel for life-saving information. Radio entertains, educates, and informs. It promotes democratic expression and influences ideas. From short-wave to FM to satellite transmission – radio connects people wherever they are. In conflict situations and times of crisis, radio is a lifeline for vulnerable communities. Radio is both valuable and cost-effective. From day one, the United Nations has been using radio to reach the peoples of the world. UN Radio sheds light on all issues on the United Nations agenda – from sustainable development … to the protection of children … to peacekeeping and conflict prevention. We are proud of our rich history of radio production in many languages, and the innovative ways we use radio to inform and serve the world. On this World Radio Day, let us celebrate the power of radio and let us work together to tune the world to the frequency of peace, development and human rights for all.”

Stay tuned for new developments from CCMC on the radio front!

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United Nations Secretary General Message on World Peace Day 3 May 2011

Please find below this year’s message of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, observed on 3 May.

3 May 2011

When governments repress their people and shield themselves from scrutiny, press freedom is among the most powerful vehicles for exposing misdeeds and upholding public trust.

When people face discrimination and marginalization, access to media can give them voice and create a shared awareness of their plight.

And in an era of pressing global challe Continue reading

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The dangers underground




Photo courtesy of UNFICYP

“There’s a wealth of amputation waiting in the ground,
but no one can remember where they put it down,
if you’re the child who finds it there you will rise upon the sound,
of the mines of Mozambique”

Extract from the song ‘The Mines of Mozambique’ by Bruce Cockburn



It costs just $1 to place a landmine in the ground, designed to maim and kill, but up to $1,000 to remove it. But above and beyond the financial cost of clearing landmines comes the devastating risk taken by brave deminers. The CCMC was very saddened this week to hear of the death of 49 year old Femisberto Novele , a demining and bomb disposal expert from Mozambique who was killed in an explosion on the 28 October while clearing a minefield in Yeri, ten kilometres southeast of the Cyprus capital, Nicosia.

Novele was part of the UN Mine Action Centre Cyprus (MACC) team. In the past five years MACC has removed and decommissioned over 14,000 mines and cleared 57 minefields in the 180 kilometre long buffer zone that divides Cyprus.

The MACC team has been responsible for clearing border crossings and areas such as Ledra Street, making it possible for people to travel more freely throughout the island. In Novele’s home country of Mozambique, however, the threat of mines is far more widespread. Anti-personnel mines still lay strewn across parts of the country: a deadly legacy of conflict. During the war of independence, the Portuguese laid mines along roads, followed in the late 1970s by the Rhodesian forces which mined Mozambique’s border areas. Mines were also used by private companies trying to protect their factories from guerilla forces.

As well as the obvious human cost, landmines also hinder economic development and stop people being able to grow crops, get access to clean water, and build infrastructure. Much of Mozambique’s farmable land is still unusable due to landmines, which accelerates food shortages, and creates crises such as the devastating famine in the 1980s that sent huge numbers of refugees across the borders into South Africa, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia.

There are still an estimated 70 million landmines in the world, which cause 19,000 deaths or injuries a year, one third of which are children. In order to stop mines claiming lives, they need to be categorized more strictly under international law, and banned.

Femisberto Novele was MACC’s first fatality since the start of the project in Cyprus but there have been nine landmine and booby trap injuries in Cyprus in the last year alone. Provided the funding continues, MACC aims to rid Cyprus of mines by April 2011. The process is painstakingly slow and dangerous and we are grateful to the courageous individual deminers, such as Novele, who make it possible for us to walk in safety.


UN deminer killed

Mine Action

Landmine victim helping Cyprus become mine free (Reuters)

Miss Landmine

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Engaging in Peace – Video

Watch this great short film about Thursday’s event in Nicosia, made by Alana Kakoyiannis.

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Hope in spades

Preparing for the leaders to plant the olive trees

Watering cans ready

Nobody has any illusions that tree planting ceremonies will change the world. But today’s event in Nicosia’s United Nations Protected Area had a different feel to it. It was an opportunity for over 50 civil society organisations from both communities, to express their support for the ongoing peace negotiations and convey their message to the leaders that ‘every decisive step taken in the [peace building process] will contribute to deeper understanding between the two communities’.

Mr Christofias, the Greek Cypriot leader and Mr Talat, the Turkish Cypriot leader planted the trees firmly in the ground, and chatted to the assembled representatives of the organizations. The atmosphere was jovial, with jokes and repartee flying back and forth between the leaders, the journalists and the NGOs themselves. “Give us a kiss”, shouted one photographer, after the customary hand-shaking. “Demetri, you’re not digging hard enough”, said another, referring to the Greek Cypriot leader who was busy chatting with one delegate, who reminded him that the people of Cyprus wanted to ‘start harvesting the olives soon!’

The leaders, Mr Christofias and Mr Talat applaud the initiative

The leaders, Mr Christofias and Mr Talat applaud the initiative.

A statement, signed by the participating organisations, was then read out in both Turkish and Greek. It spoke of joint intercommunity efforts and trust building measures that are being initiated by both communities ‘to discuss and exchange ideas in a manner which can contribute to the debate at the grassroots level.’ It also urged the leaders to keep the public well informed of any progress and to address emerging difficulties in a constructive way that would not adversely affect the outcome of the talks.

UN soldier standing by with the olive trees

UN soldier standing by with the olive trees

 ‘Civil society seeks to embrace a catalytic role,’ the statement concluded. ‘To contribute to a new impetus in realizing a bi-communal, bi-zonal, federal Cyprus.’

Yes, tree planting ceremonies don’t change the world. But a large group of non-governmental groups, representing their views and speaking directly to power, are a strong reminder of what these talks really are about: the people. A seasoned peace campaigner recently said to us ‘We don’t need any more olive trees that are planted for peace and later die from lack of watering.’

With all the cynicism and failed hope already around us, perhaps it’s time to start believing again. With the right nurturing, there’s everything to play for at the moment. Let’s keep watering those trees.

by Sarah, Cyprus Community Media Centre

Representatives of civil society organisations, holding the banner.

Representatives of civil society organisations, holding the banner.

Mr Talat and Mr Christofias plant the trees

Mr Talat and Mr Christofias plant the trees

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