30 October 2017 - United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has appointed singer Shehzad Roy, a recipient of Pakistan's highest civil honor, Sitara-i-Imtiaz, as its new National Goodwill Ambassador. The appointment of Mr. Roy is aimed at increasing visibility and assisting in mobilizing support in relation to drug demand reduction, prevention and treatment.UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov said: "Throughout his career as a singer, social worker and a humanitarian, Mr. Roy has shown an unwavering commitment to tackling illicit drugs." "His position as one of Pakistan's most famous singers, his enduring popularity with young people, and his energy and undoubted talent, will help UNODC publicise the dangers of drug abuse," he added.
Speaking on his appointment, Mr. Roy said: "I have been following UNODC's work even before joining them as a Goodwill Ambassador. Their work is commendable in the fields of criminal justice, drug demand reduction and HIV/AIDS prevention. These things are close to my heart especially when children are concerned, and I will give my all to my new role as National Goodwill Ambassador for Pakistan."Shehzad Roy is a popular Pakistani singer, a social worker and a humanitarian to serve as a renown and commanding face for UNODC's cause. He is the President and founder of Zindagi Trust, a non-government charitable organization that strives to improve the quality of education available to the average Pakistani.
"It is disheartening to see children imprisoned for petty crimes or drugs ruining the lives of young people. If I can help one child out of prison or convince just one boy or girl to turn away from drugs, I feel proud that I have made a difference," said Mr. Roy upon accepting his two-year assignment.In 2005, Mr. Roy received the Sitara-i-Imtiaz, one of the highest civil honors awarded in Pakistan for excellence in public service. For his organisation's rehabilitation work after the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, he was also awarded the Sitara-e-Eisaar (Star of Sacrifice) in 2006.
Mr. Roy has further demonstrated commitment to humanitarian affairs by performing in a peace concert at the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Oslo, Norway. He has also given talks at Harvard University on music, activism and his documentary series as well as his struggle to bring social change throughout Pakistan.During his term, Roy will speak out on criminal justice and drug demand reduction, visit UNODC projects, educational institutions and rehabilitation centres, and raise awareness on the Office's important work.
He is expected to take part in a wide range of activities, including the marking of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, supporting prison and police reforms, and advocating for gender-responsive services for drug abusers.