PRESS BRIEFING BY BRENDEN VARMA, SPOKESPERSON FOR GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT VOLKAN BOZKIR

ON SLAVERY REMEMBRANCE DAY, PRESIDENT HIGHLIGHTS HEREDITARY TRAUMA, CALLS FOR HONEST DISCUSSIONS ON REPARATORY JUSTICE

  • This morning the General Assembly held its annual commemorative meeting to mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
  • The keynote speaker was Dr. Lisa M. Coleman, New York University’s Chief Diversity Officer and Senior Vice President for Global Inclusion and Strategic Innovation.
  • In his opening remarks, the President said the transatlantic slave trade defined our world, and the supremacy that justified it has not left us.
  • Noting that trauma is hereditary, he added that, not only do the descendants of the 15 million victims have to grapple with the pain and grief of their ancestors, but every day, they navigate a world built by them but not for them.
  • He said that, today, when those around us look away and turn their backs on injustice, each of us has a responsibility to step in.
  • He added: “We cannot stand by while the people we serve suffer. We cannot permit gaslighting. We cannot shy away from honest discussions about reparatory justice.”
  • Ha concluded by saying, “This global injustice did not just end neatly after 400 years. Laws did not change attitudes. The weight of shackles endures.”

 

1st INFORMAL DIALOGUE FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL CANDIDATES TO BE HELD ON 7 MAY

  • On the Secretary-General selection and appointment process, the President informed Member States today that he intends to hold the first of the informal dialogues with candidates on 7 May. He also circulated the vision statement submitted by the incumbent Secretary-General, António Guterres.
  • To date, Mr. Guterres is the only candidate whose name has been jointly circulated to Member States by the Presidents of the General Assembly and Security Council.
  • Regarding the informal dialogue on 7 May, it will be held at 10:00 a.m. in the General Assembly Hall. Should further candidates be presented in accordance with resolution 69/321, additional dates may be scheduled. Further details on the informal dialogues will be circulated in due course.
  • This latest information has been added to our office’s dedicated web page on this topic.
  • Asked about the additional four applicants for the position of Secretary-General, the Spokesperson said he had no further updates to share. Responding to a further question, he confirmed that the Secretary-General selection and appointment process had been discussed by the Presidents of the General Assembly and Security Council during their last meeting earlier this month.

 

ASSEMBLY PROCLAIMS GLOBAL MEDIA AND INFORMATION LITERACY WEEK

  • Today the General Assembly adopted three resolutions and one decision by consensus. Those included a new resolution, which was introduced by Jamaica.
  • By that resolution, the Assembly proclaimed 24 to 31 October of each year to be the Global Media and Information Literacy Week.
  • The other two resolutions concerned: cooperation between the United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization; and cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

 

ASSEMBLY TO MEET TOMORROW ON COVID-19 VACCINES DECLARATION

  • Tomorrow morning, the President will convene an informal meeting of the General Assembly to announce the launch of “The Political Declaration on Equitable Global Access to COVID-19 Vaccines”.
  • This follows a request that he received from 19 delegations.
  • The President is expected to deliver remarks tomorrow. But other than that, there will be no pre-determined list of speakers.
  • We understand that the text of this declaration on vaccines is currently supported by 177 delegations.
  • That text is available on the President’s web site.