Message from UN Women:

The Communications Procedure of the Commission on the Status of Women is a unique tool for individuals and organizations to use in order to raise awareness about injustice and discriminatory practices against women in any country in the world. Claims to the Commission on the Status of Women for consideration at its next session (14-24 March 2016) must be submitted by 1 August 2015.

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MJT at UNEach year, NGOs at the UN find themselves participating in new ways in order to influence global policy for the common good. Since statistical experts asked for input on the Sustainable Development Goals measurable indicators for migration, I was asked to join a panel for this commission. Among other suggestions, I focused on Goal 8.8 which is “promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.” The indicators for this goal, which the NGO Committee on Migration has developed with our international colleagues, are:

equal pay for equal work
freedom to change employers
the right to participate in trade unions
human rights based circular migration
penalties in cases of exploitation
employers responsible for recruitment fees
due process for complaints
recruitment of foreign workers by registered recruiters, who observe
ethical methods of negotiating for needed workers


Amarachi Grace EzeonuBy Grace Amarachi Ezeonu, SNDdeN, Intern in SNDatUN Office

There is no better phrase with which to describe the insanity of religious extremists than in the words of holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel, who describes extremism as the “winds of madness.” Indeed the wind of madness is currently blowing across the world which no one is yet able to tame or constrain as it expands its constituency. Religious extremism is fueled by on-going conflict, social breakdown, intolerance, weak government, and other factors. In the past decade, it has led to death and displacement of tens of thousands of people around the world, especially in the Middle East and Africa. It is a new form of violence against women and girls, a common trend shared by extremist organizations like Boko Haram and the so-called Islamic State. Not only are women targets of violence, they are increasingly recruited into various religious extremist groups.

Photo: Kathleen Caulderwood

Photo: Kathleen Caulderwood

Though the human rights of women and girls are often violated by religious extremists, women can also act as agents of change and be key participants in the fight against extremism. Women are often an under-represented force within many faith traditions and must be included in efforts to create healthy societies, including movements toward progressive religious expression and gender equality within various cultures.

Photo: Jamesdale10/Flicker

Photo: Jamesdale10/Flicker

In the struggle to curb the spread and the destructive effect of religious extremism, governments, religious leaders, community leaders, and various stakeholders within communities must recognize the role and value of women in enriching their communities as empowered participants. The above assertion was echoed by Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, representative of the UN Alliance of Civilization, during a high level thematic debate “On promoting tolerance and reconciliation: fostering peaceful, inclusive societies and countering violent extremism,” held at UN headquarters in New York, April 21-22.

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In a war of ideas, it is people who get killed.
Stanislaw Jerzy Lec



UN Global Education Envoy Gordon Brown called for a multi-million dollar emergency fund for education, noting that refugee children have the fewest opportunities for schooling. Good news: an innovative on-air school enables Syrian and Iraqi children, whose education has been disrupted by conflict, to start learning again.


Anna ShketBy Anna Shket, Intern in SNDatUN Office

On Friday, April 24, the UN Security Council held a meeting on the situation in the Middle East, particularly the refugee crisis in Syria. Nearly four million Syrians are refugees in neighboring countries; moreover, the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in Syria increased to 12.2 million today. In 2014 Syria received 40 percent of all OCHA (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) humanitarian aid. This fact demonstrates that the crisis has become the world’s largest humanitarian emergency.

So the question remains – why does the UN fail to prevent and end the conflict in Syria? I would like to emphasize that it is unconditionally not only a concern of the Syrian government but all parties involved in conflict. Moreover, it is an entire international community responsibility to bring to an end the suffering of civilians. The Executive Director of the World Food Program, Ertharin Cousin, urged during the meeting for regional stability and security. Funding shortfalls fuel extreme poverty, making refugees vulnerable to traffickers and extremists, and limiting plans such as UNICEF initiatives in reaching pregnant women and providing children with feeding programmes.

UN Special Envoy for Refugees, Angelina Jolie-Pitt, states that the UN is failing to bring countries together. “If we cannot end the conflict, we have an inescapable moral duty to help refugees and provide legal avenues to safety.” It did not take long to verify this statement, since about an hour later the representatives of Turkey and Syria were having polemics on the responsibilities in fueling the crisis. It is the obligation of all states to stop the deterioration of the Syrian crisis, find diplomatic solutions, and fully collaborate in order to assist innocent people who have no part in an ongoing conflict. It is a UN responsibility to find a political solution.

Learn more:  Syrian refugee crisis as bad as Rwandan genocide:
                      Syria’s massive population displacement:


All-Stars-Logo-2014-RGBConstant Contact bestows its annual All Star award on businesses and nonprofits that excel at using online tools to build relationships. Our e-newsletter results again rank among the top 10% of Constant Contact’s international customer base. As in 2012 and 2013, we are proud to be recognized again for our outreach efforts.

A comment from two of our readers: “We have a new appreciation for all that you and your colleagues do in your ministry at the UN. We were particularly struck by the importance of your efforts in working to assure that Gospel values inform UN decisions. In addition, we realize more fully the importance of your ability to provide delegates with first-hand information based on our own Sisters’ experiences in troubled areas of the world.”


Jo-AnnBy Jo-Ann Flora, SNDdeN, SNDatUN delegate to Commission on the Status of Women

When 8000 women from all over the globe arrive in New York City in March each year, we know it’s time for the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations. This year I attended several parallel events during the first week of the commission. I concentrated on sessions that dealt with human trafficking and prostitution. It was encouraging to learn about what various countries are doing to bring an end to trafficking and to assist victims in rebuilding their lives. Examples are:

Ireland’s Turn Off the Red Light Campaign

The Nordic Model

Australian Plan to Reduce Violence against Women

A particularly interesting event was presented by the Coalition against Trafficking in Women: Twenty Years after Beijing: Prostitution, Sex Trafficking, and the Quest for Equality. Panelists from several countries, including survivors, spoke from their area of expertise – medicine, psychology, social justice activism, human rights advocacy, etc. – on progress made and new models and solutions yet to be tried.

Throughout the week, an important distinction continued to be made regarding prostitution. On one side, representatives from countries where prostitution is legal spoke of how their governments regard it as a respectable employment choice for women. On the other side, speakers made clear that prostitution must be addressed as it exists, not as it is imagined. Prostitution is violence against women and a form of slavery. Legalization may be seen as a country’s effort to help the slave and make it nicer on the plantation, but legalization cannot eradicate slavery or close down the plantation. These laws sometimes result in harm reduction, but fail to change the system.”


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