SDG 10: Reduced inequalities
On 21 June 2017 Ojulu, a refugee from Ethiopia, first arrived in the Kalobeyei settlement. The move was part of a camp consolidation and closure exercise that saw the relocation of non-Somali refugees from the Dadaab complex to the Kakuma refugee camp in Turkana County.
“When I first arrived in Kalobeyei everything was new. I left my work, family, friends in Dadaab and was entering a new place,” Ojulu explains.
In August 2017, the humanitarian situation in the Rakhine State of Myanmar triggered a large influx of Rohingya civilians to cross into Bangladesh to Cox's Bazar. Since then, an estimated 655,000 Rohingyas refugees have crossed into Bangladesh, increasing the total Rohingya population residing in the Cox's Bazar area to over 866,000. The speed and scale of the refugee influx has resulted in a critical humanitarian emergency that is being handled by UN agencies, other humanitarian partners and volunteers.
UN Volunteer Lucy Tabot Akabum is a Human Rights Officer at the UN Joint Human Rights Office of MONUSCO in Bukavu, in eastern DRC. She was one of ten UN Volunteers who contributed to the Volunteer Initiatives for Peace and Development (VIPD) project to provide clean water for 39 orphans.
According to a survey by UNICEF in 2017, only 6 out of 10 adolescents are in school. Girls are largely considered a source of bridal wealth, while boys herd cattle for most of their lives. Born in this region myself, I have had first-hand experience of what this means for young people.
According to civil society organizations, one person is killed every 27 hours in Brazil because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and Brazil ranks first in the world in the number of trans people killed every year (TGEU, 2018). The country still has laws criminalizing homophobia and transphobia, and it does not have comprehensive public policies for the LGBTI population.
In my youth, I often volunteered with orphanages and animal rescue organizations in my country. Although I felt that I could and should do more to help build a better world, I didn’t know where to start. This was until I delved into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
I then realized that what I wanted was a volunteer assignment within the United Nations system, particularly in a place where I could advocate for equality, respect for diversity and peace and development. I applied for a UNV assignment and was accepted as an Air Operations Assistant with UNMISS.
As a UN Youth Volunteer with a disability, Kasunjith provided a unique and personal input to the discussions related to inclusion and played a key role in advocating for needs specific to the disabled community.
If not us then who? ‘Inclusion’ cannot be fostered without the participation of people with disabilities. It is very important that the disabled community is not left behind in the recognition of Sustainable Development Goals. --Kasunjith Satanarachchi Devesurenda, during the 2019 ECOSOC Youth Forum
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a vast country with a large number of UN Volunteers (currently almost 460) serving in 25 different duty stations (including the Entebbe Support Base in Uganda). Over 80 per cent of these volunteers serve with the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democractic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO). The remainder serve with seven other UN agencies, funds and programmes.