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February 2022

Ka nui te mihi ki a koutou katoa - UNA NZ monthly newsletter
Dear Members and Supporters of the United Nations Association


Welcome to the February newsletter. 

The pandemic continues to grip the country posing a great risk to life and health, the world has seen continued social division manifest in protests and the international community is grappling with unprovoked military attacks on Ukraine that breach international law and pose a grave humanitarian risk. 

These events serve as a reminder of the challenges we collectively face. 

These events also serve as a reminder of the need for global unity, respect of international law and the protection of human rights. These challenges also serve as a reminder of the need to be unwavering in our commitment to progressing the aims and ideals of the United Nations. 

 UNA condemns Russian acts of aggression and calls for restoration of peace and international law

The United Nations Association of New Zealand (UNANZ) condemns the Russian military action against Ukraine as an act of aggression that is clearly in violation of international law. We call on the New Zealand government to use its membership in the United Nations to help end the military action, restore peace and prevent further humanitarian suffering caused by the Russian action.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has clearly stated that “The use of force by one country against another is the repudiation of the principles that every country has committed to uphold. This applies to the present military offensive. It is wrong. It is against the Charter. It is unacceptable. But it is not irreversible.”

Regardless of any historical grievances and unresolved conflicts that Russia may have with Ukraine and the United States/NATO,  the threat or use of force to resolve such conflicts is prohibited under Article 2 of the UN Charter. 

President Putin’s acts have catapulted Russia and Ukraine into an armed conflict that, if not stopped, will lead to catastrophic suffering of both combatants and civilians in Ukraine, placing Russia at risk of a counter-attack which will cause suffering to Russian people many of whom oppose President Putin’s illegal actions, and could escalate to a broader regional war threatening peace and security in the world and elevating the risk of nuclear war.

UNANZ recognises that better use could have been made of diplomacy, mediation and common security mechanisms earlier in the conflict to address and resolve historical grievances. We call now on the United Nations and the international community to use all non-military means possible, particularly those outlined in Articles 33 – 41 of the UN Charter, to contain and reverse the invasion of Ukraine, and to hold President Putin criminally responsible for the act of aggression (Crime Against Peace), along with other Russian officials who are complicit. 

The UN Security Council is unlikely to take meaningful action due to the veto power of the five Permanent Members of the Security Council (P5) which includes Russia. Indeed, this veto power has also prevented meaningful action from being taken on a number of other occasions when P5 members have breached the Charter with acts of aggression. Ultimately that veto power should be amended or revoked. In the meantime, in cases of such non-action by the Security Council, the UN General Assembly can take action normally under the Security Council’s mandate to address the conflict and respond to aggression as it has done so on occasions in the past, including under the Uniting for Peace resolution (377A, 3 November 1950).

UNANZ joins the UN Secretary-General and the people of Ukraine, Russia, Europe and the world who do not want war, and who are appealing to the Russian government to end the military conflict, return the troops to Russia, and address their historical grievances through diplomacy and international law. It’s not too late to save this generation from the scourge of war. We need peace.


 Statement by Secretary-General on Ukraine. 


“We are seeing Russian military operations inside the sovereign territory of Ukraine on a scale that Europe has not seen in decades.

Day after day, I have been clear that such unilateral measures conflict directly with the United Nations Charter.

The Charter is clear: “All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”

The use of force by one country against another is the repudiation of the principles that every country has committed to uphold.

This applies to the present military offensive.

It is wrong.

It is against the Charter.

It is unacceptable.

But it is not irreversible.

I repeat my appeal from last night to President Putin:

Stop the military operation.

Bring the troops back to Russia.

We know the toll of war.

With deaths rising, we are seeing images of fear, anguish and terror in every corner of Ukraine.

People – everyday innocent people – always pay the highest price.

That is why the United Nations is scaling up our humanitarian operations in and around Ukraine.

Today I am announcing that we will immediately allocate $20 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund to meet urgent needs.

We and our humanitarian partners are committed to staying and delivering, to support people in Ukraine in their time of need.

United Nations staff are working on both sides of the contact line, always guided by the humanitarian principles of neutrality, impartiality, humanity and independence.

We are providing lifesaving humanitarian relief to people in need, regardless of who or where they are.

The protection of civilians must be priority number one.

International humanitarian and human rights law must be upheld.

The decisions of the coming days will shape our world and directly affect the lives of millions upon millions of people.

In line with the Charter, it’s not too late to save this generation from the scourge of war.

We need peace.

Thank you."

© UNICEF/Ashley Gilbertson
A young girl sits in a bomb shelter in the basement of her school in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine. (file)

Read more by clicking on the headlines below. 

Russia like a ‘virus’ making UN sick - Ukraine ambassador

Ukraine Crisis: Protecting civilians ‘Priority Number One’; Guterres releases $20M for humanitarian support

At dedicated Assembly session on Ukraine, UN chief calls for ‘restraint, reason and de-escalation’

Ukraine: Humanitarians fear ‘devastating’ consequences  


  UN Women Ukraine Emergency Appeal  

UN Women Aotearoa President Tara Singh called for solidarity and donations to help women and girls in Ukraine. Tara said: "The conflict is intensifying in Ukraine, putting women and girls in severe danger. Donate now to stand alongside women and girls in Ukraine.

Women and girls are disproportionately affected by the escalating conflict due to limited access to healthcare, housing, employment, and a concerning increase in gender-based violence. 

UN Women is incredibly concerned for the safety and well being of women and girls in the Ukraine. 

UN Women has worked in the Ukraine since 1999 to help the country meet its gender equality commitments and has been striving to support longer-term national reforms promoting gender equality and women’s rights and security. UN Women is worried the current situation could reverse the important progress made on gender equality and women's rights in Ukraine in recent years.

Please donate now your donation can help address the needs of women in Ukraine and for those who are fleeing the violence into neighbouring countries, including those experiencing violence at a time of urgent crisis.

The sheer scale of this conflict is unfolding before our eyes, please consider standing alongside UN Women as we work to protect and empower women and girls in Ukraine."


 No bystanders - Women's economic empowerment, peace and security issues. 

 5pm Thursday 17th March NZDT (3/17/22 12:00AM EST)

At UNA NZ we know that the world does better when gender equality is a reality. To register for this virtual event click here.

See our UNA NZ website to read about this event and see the list of panellists by clicking here.

As the world continues to grapple with the effects of climate change and COVID-19 it is imperative to ask an important, but simple question- what would the world look like if women had the same access to leadership, decision-making, and opportunities as men? The answer is clear- it would be a society which ensured that no one person is left behind. As women grapple with being the hardest hit group economically because of COVID-19 and women and children are also the most vulnerable groups susceptible to the effects of climate change- it is imperative they are included in the solution. This event will highlight the challenges that are still in place for women to be active participants at the public and corporate leadership levels; but also provides a unique perspective for the future of women’s leadership and participation to address these challenges in the future. Whilst there is still work that needs to be done, New Zealand’s youth have shown they are prepared to fight for a more equitable and sustainable future, not just in New Zealand, but in the wider Pacific region.

Panellists: Dr Negar Partow, Caroline Herewini MNZM, Professor Tagaloatele Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop CNZM, Dr Gill Greer CBE, MNZM, Associate Professor Fiona Te Momo, Tara Singh, Seraya Amirthalingam, Kate Hellings and Joy Dunsheath JP.

Organiser & MC: Joy Dunsheath or

We invite you to join this virtual event.



 UNA NZ Annual publication 2020/21 online now!


Read our annual publication online now. 

Earlier this year UNA NZ had planned a launch event for our annual publication with the generous support of the Irish Embassy in New Zealand. Due to Covid-19 restrictions this event is postponed indefinitely. For now, we are soft launching the electronic version of our annual publication so that citizens can still learn about and engage with the work of the UN. 

UNA News is our annual publication and includes the latest reports from our branches, national activities and events as well as updates from the wider UN family both in New Zealand and internationally.  The latest edition of the UNA NZ News includes a conference feature, internship reports and captures all our key events throughout 2020. It also includes research papers into climate-related threats to human rights in the pacific, the nuclear ban treaty, te ao Māori and the SDGs and more.

UNA NZ extends its thanks to all those involved in our activities during this period, our dedicated interns and experts who carried out research and our team of editors who complied, edited and formatted this publication. 

You can read the publication here.


 UNA NZ SGM notice


The SGM will take place online at 5:30 pm on Thursday 31 March 2022.

To attend please complete our RSVP form by clicking here.

The video link, agenda and supporting documents will be sent to members closer to the date.


 UNA NZ releases new research on International Labour Organisation Convention 190 on workplace harassment 


In June 2019, the International Labour Organization (ILO) hosted a centenary conference in Geneva, approximately 6,300 delegates representing governments, employers and workers from the member states attended. On the agenda was a vote for the adoption of Convention 190; a comprehensive initiative tackling the issue of violence and harassment in the world of work. With a clear 439 out of 476 votes going in favour of the standard, the event brought into force the first international agreement recognising ‘violence and harassment’ as a broad spectrum of behaviours, that must be eradicated by targeting the driving influences behind them. 


Despite its progressive and beneficial aspirations, New Zealand is yet to ratify Convention 190. This is somewhat surprising given our previous support for ILO Convention 111 (Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation) and the gaps in pre-existing legislative frameworks that Convention 190 can address to improve national labour welfare. Not only would this ratification have profound effects for the welfare and productivity of the national workforce; it would also signal to other Member states that New Zealand wants to continue to be a leader of labour reform and wellbeing.


The United Nations Association of New Zealand (UNA NZ) has recently completed a three-part report explaining first, Convention 190 and the obligations it creates, second, how the Convention may take shape in New Zealand’s working and legislative environment and third, the wider international ramifications the Convention has.


This report will contribute to a wider campaign seeking to raise awareness for Convention 190 that will be driven by various union and human rights organisations. Beginning with a petition to gather support for Convention 190, the campaign will aim to lobby with real-life experience and storytelling that will educate employers and employees alike of the consequences of work-related violence and harassment. This will work alongside contributions to MBIE policy that reflect a realistic implementation strategy for Convention 190 in New Zealand.


It is integral that every working person in New Zealand not only understands their rights and responsibilities in the workplace, but promotes a working culture that is intolerant of violence and harassment towards others. The distribution of the UNA NZ Report constitutes one part of a campaign that requires everyone to stand up for labour welfare and a New Zealand workforce that prioritises safe working conditions for all.

You can read the full report on our website by clicking here.


  New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister to speak at UN Human Rights Council for the first time ever

Hon Nanaia Mahuta Minister for Foreign Affairs engages with the UN in Europe.

"Mahuta will also head to Geneva where she is expected to meet leaders from UN and multilateral organisations.

She is also due to speak at the UN Human Rights Council, which will be the first time a Minister of Foreign Affairs from Aotearoa has spoken at the council since its creation in 2006.

"I look forward to engaging at the Human Rights Council and, in particular, delivering Aotearoa New Zealand's statement setting out our country's human rights priorities on the opening day of the council session," Mahuta said.

The foreign minister will finish her trip on 2 March, after which she will return to MIQ and comply with the Covid-19 requirements for returnees."

You can read more about the planned trip here.


UN plastic treaty risks being watered down- calls for New Zealand to take a stand

 "Following years of discussions, support for a global treaty to stem the tide of plastic pollution is now widespread, with 75% of UN member states backing the idea.

Next week, countries will negotiate two competing resolutions in the lead-up to the UN Environment Assembly. Both resolutions call for the establishment of an intergovernmental negotiating committee to start work on a legally binding treaty."

Read the full article here.

UNA NZ Education Portal Resources

Curious to know what our education portal actually is? 

The UNA NZ Education Portal is an excellent web page for UN-related resources.  

The resources on this site are designed for primary school aged children. If you are an educator please use these resources as you wish. We also encourage educators, students and parents to contribute to the portal to help it grow. Find out how you can contribute here.

Check out our about page to watch an introductory video, read updates, learn how to contribute and most importantly, how you can take advantage of these resources to make learning exciting for your students. 

Click here to learn more.

Check out our newly updated website!
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