POVERTY AND INEQUALITY: DRIVER OF VIOLENT CRIME IN ANY SOCIETY

02By Juliana Marques Boyd: There has been a significant increase in violent crimes in many cities around the world in recent years. According to the  United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 2013 Global Study on Homicide, over 437,000 people were intentionally killed in 2012. The fundamental question remains: what causes our society to be so violent? Though many attribute violent crimes to factors such as mental illness, alcohol and drug abuse, it can be inferred that inequality and poverty are the greatest drivers of violence. A recent World Bank study indicates that the inequitable distribution of income contributes to a feeling of unfairness among disadvantaged individuals which leads them to seek compensation through criminal activities. The study also states that crime is determined by a ‘cost-benefit analysis.’ For instance, when the poorest people have fewer or sometimes no economic opportunities and there is a profound income gap between the rich and the poor, they tend to seek financial compensation through crimes such as robbery and kidnapping for ransom. The study suggests that rapid poverty alleviation programmes would lead to a decrease in crime rates in various countries .

Inequality occurs when wealth is concentrated in the hands of very few individuals. Poverty caused by inequality is a major threat to public security and its presence undermines the achievement of sustainable peace and development. In his departing speech to the UN General Assembly in 2016, President Barack Obama warned that, “a world where 1% of humanity controls as much wealth as the bottom 99% will never be stable.” This fact was highlighted in a report presented by OXFAM to the world economic and political leaders at the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The 4report revealed that only eight men own wealth equal to the combined wealth of 3.8 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity. This report warns that left unchecked, growing inequality threatens world peace and security, and undermines the fight to end poverty. Large corporations and the super-rich are also reasons for widening income inequality, according to the report. It argues that by having low-cost labor, paying little taxes, optimizing revenues to their shareholders, and influencing and ensuring that regulations work in their favor—corporations accumulate large sums of fortune at the cost of the well-being of the general population. The report ultimately suggests that in order to reverse this trend, it is necessary to design a “human economy,” which emphasizes better societies and benefits to the larger portion of the population.

To break the cycle of inequality and poverty so that the next generation can live in a peaceful and sustainable world, it is vital for both the local and national governments, as well as the international community to ensure access to social services and economic opportunities, especially to minority communities who often are the most marginalized. The UN 2030 Agenda provides the framework for governments to achieve a just and equitable society by 2030. And this is possible in our lifetime!

Read more: Inequality and violent crime; http://bit.ly/2FpfhYN

An economy of 99%; http://bit.ly/2EYEdTH

“It’s been proven, less inequality means less crime;” http://bit.ly/1y6Bsc0

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62ND COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN: “CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES IN ACHIEVING GENDER EQUALITY AND THE EMPOWERMENT OF RURAL WOMEN AND GIRLS.”

1There is currently a sweeping global movement for women’s rights, equality, and justice. This global activism for gender equality has also been fueled by the recent #MeToo, #TimesUp, and other local campaigns/movements against the exploitation and marginalization of women in public and private spheres. From the global North to South, women are increasingly reclaiming their agency and speaking out against centuries of injustices, socio-economic and political exclusion, and discrimination. It was within this climate of women’s activism on gender equality, that over four thousand women from all walks of life from across the globe, gathered at the United Nations Headquarters in New York for the annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). The commission took place from March 12 – 23. The CSW is the UN Commission that draws the largest number of participants from around the world (largely comprised of women).

The CSW is the principal intergovernmental body primarily designated to promote 2gender equality and the empowerment of women. It is a functional commission of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), established by the General Assembly Council resolution 11(II) of 21 June 1946. The CSW is dedicated to promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and in shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women (UN Women). The main theme for the 2018 Commission (CSW62) was, “Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls.” Speaking at an event to mark the International Women’s Day on March 8, the UN Secretary General noted that, “achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge of our time.” And one would add that this challenge is even greater for women and girls within rural areas.

A message from H.E. Geraldine Byrne Nason, Chair of CSW62: http://bit.ly/2DrgXLE

CSW62: https://bit.ly/2AEUBoN

2018 WORLD SOCIAL JUSTICE DAY: “WORKERS ON THE MOVE: THE QUEST FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE”

5February 20, is the World Day of Social Justice. The pursuit for social justice is at the core of the United Nation’s global mission to promote development and human dignity. “Social justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. We uphold the principles of social justice when we promote gender equality or the rights of indigenous peoples and migrants. We advance social justice when we remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability.” (UN)

The theme for the 2018 World Day of Social Justice is, “Workers on the Move: The Quest for Social Justice.” The majority of people migrate in search of work. The International Labour Organization (ILO), estimates that there are about 150 million migrant workers the world over. Fifty-six percent of these are men and forty-four percent are women. According the ILO Director General, Mr. Guy Ryder, “migrant workers, like all workers, are entitled to fair treatment, and fair treatment for migrant workers is also key to preserving the social fabric of our societies and to sustainable development.”

Read more:

World Day of Social Justice: http://bit.ly/1gjPbzb

International Labour Organization: http://bit.ly/1gjeDtB

 

GLOBAL COMPACT ON MIGRATION: MAKING MIGRATION SAFE, ORDERLY AND REGULAR

3Migration is a human experience. People have always migrated, and will continue to migrate. The large movements of refugees and migrants from some Middle East and African countries into Europe over the past few years, as the result of conflict, socio-economic, and political instability in some parts of these regions, gave rise to a widespread global refugee/migrant crisis. While a few countries, individuals, and organizations responded positively by offering hospitality and the needed humanitarian assistance, others were not as forthcoming. Furthermore, some hard-liners in few countries manipulated the situation, presenting migrants as security threats and spreading hate and xenophobic sentiments, often for political gains.

Given the growing crisis, the United Nations responded to the large movements of people by convening a High-Level meeting in which the General Assembly adopted the New York Declaration on Migrants and Refugees (NYD). This meeting took place on September 26, 2016. The purpose of the NYD was to garner the political will of world leaders to commit to share responsibility at the global level to save lives and protect the human rights of migrants and refugees. The NYD also called for two global compacts: Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and a Global Compact on Refugees. Both of the compacts will have a distinct framework to address issues relating to migration and refugees at the global level through international cooperation and responsibility sharing.

The Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration will focus largely on achieving a more equitable allocation of the burdens and responsibilities of hosting displaced individuals and providing safety and support for people on the move. The goal of the global compact on migration is to make migration secure, systematic, consistent, and ultimately voluntary.

Intergovernmental negotiations on the Global Compact on Migration (GCM) commenced this month and will continue subsequently in the coming five months. Five days in each month will be dedicated to the intergovernmental negotiations, at the UN Headquarters in New York. Member States will adopt the final negotiated document in early December 2018, in Morocco. The task for developing the Global Compact on Refugees has been assigned to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in consultation with governments and other stakeholders. The compact on refugees will also be adopted along with the compact on migration.

Speaking with members of the NGO Committee on Migration, one of the co-facilitators4 for the intergovernmental negotiations on the Global Compact on Migration described the compact as the “spine” for addressing the current migration issues. He also added that success of the compacts would lie largely on the political will of national governments to implement the compacts’ directives. This support from national governments is particularly vital, as the compacts are not intended to be legally binding. Members of Civil Society Organizations have since begun rigorous advocacy with governments to ensure that the two compacts meet the needs of the 258 million migrants and 22.5 refugees around the world.

Read More:

Franciscan International 2018 Lenten Reflection on Global Migration:    http://bit.ly/2HvLdrV

Video of Pope Francis on Migrants and Refugees: http://bit.ly/2BFL8kO

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees: http://bit.ly/2dsnVEq

 

56TH COMMISSION FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: “STRATEGIES FOR ERADICATING POVERTY TO ACHIEVE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT FOR ALL”

1The Commission for Social Development concluded its 56th session on February 7 with the adoption of four draft resolutions by consensus. The draft resolutions, which were recommended to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for further actions, included ageing, future-working methods of the commission, strategies for eradicating poverty, and Africa’s development. The Commission on Social Development is the advisory body responsible for the social development pillar of global development. The draft resolutions are measures created by government officials and civil society leaders to help lift millions of people still living in poverty, especially those in vulnerable situations. In her opening remarks at the commission, the UN deputy Secretary General, Ms. Amina Mohammed, stated that, “at the global level, we have experienced impressive reductions in extreme poverty. Significant progress has also been made in improving access to schooling and healthcare, promoting the empowerment of women, youth, and persons with disabilities, older persons and indigenous populations; however, the drop in extreme poverty remains uneven across regions, within countries and between various social groups.”

The Commission for Social Development was also actively partaken by members of Civil2 Society organizations. Many NGOs submitted written or oral statements to contribute to the work of the Commission. Additionally, many of the participants co-sponsored side events on relevant issues. Members of the Civil Society held their Forum on February 2, under the theme, Social Protection, Including Floors: A preeminent strategy to eradicate poverty and achieve social development for all.” The Civil Society Forum provides a space for members of Civil Society Organizations to gather for orientations, discussions, and collaboration on the themes and deliberations of the Commission for Social Development. The group submitted a joint statement on the theme of their Forum to the Commission.

In his closing remarks, the chairperson for the 56th Session of the Commission, Mr. Nikulas Hannigan of Iceland, commended efforts by the Secretariat, the Vice‑Chairs, keynote speakers, and a range of other participants for contributing to the smooth and successful conclusion of the eight-day commission.  He also affirmed what he described as the “unprecedented robust level of participation by civil society.

Read more: 56th Commission Social Development: http://bit.ly/2Bt7Mgl

“HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE AND EDUCATION: OUR SHARED RESPONSIBILITY”

04The United Nations General Assembly on 1 November 2005 adopted a resolution A/RES/60/7 designating 27 January, as the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The General Assembly adopted the above resolution by “consensus condemning “without reserve” all manifestations of religious intolerance, incitement, harassment or violence against persons or communities based on ethnic origin or religious belief, whenever they occur.” The theme for the 2018 Holocaust Remembrance Day is “Holocaust Remembrance and Education: Our Shared Responsibility.” This theme, according to the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme highlights the importance of education on the tragedy of holocaust in order to encourage the future generation to reject all forms of racism, violence and extremism. “To build a future, you have to know the past.” (Otto Frank)

Hatred, intolerance, discrimination and demonization of an entire population simply on the basis of their race, ethnicity, sexuality or religious beliefs could potentially be the first step to inciting a genocide.  As the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres warns, “It would be a dangerous error to think of the Holocaust as simply the result of the insanity of a group of criminal Nazis. On the contrary, the Holocaust was the culmination of millennia of hatred, scapegoating and discrimination targeting the Jews, what we now call anti-Semitism.”

Read more:

International Holocaust Remembrance Day: http://bit.ly/MjAbc4

Resolution A/RES/60/7: http://bit.ly/2mQkbBW

Unforgettable; Holocaust Survivors speak; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVqmUtWBy8E

WOMEN IN PEACE NEGOTIATIONS: SUSTAINABLE PEACE NEEDS WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP AND REPRESENTATION

02By Juliana Maria Marques Boyd (former intern, SNDATUN): 2017 marks the 17th Anniversary of the UN Security Council resolution 1325 (SCR 1325). SCR 1325 not only recognizes the severe impact of war on women, but also the essential role that women play in preventing conflict and in the peacemaking processes. The resolution represents a breakthrough in women, peace and security. This resolution also serves as a reminder on the importance of enabling a large pool of women to have full participation at all levels in conflict negotiations and peace treaties.

The crucial role of women in sustainable peace and security was the central theme of the side-event, “Women Mediators, Words to Action,” held at the UN Headquarters on September 21, 2017. Several government representatives, members of civil society

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Courtesy;  UN Women

organizations, and Women Mediator’s Networks (from Nordic, African, and Mediterranean countries) attended the event. Speakers highlighted the importance of the inclusion of women in mediation leadership positions. In her remarks at the event, the newly appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy, Angelino Alfano, stated that, “though, women are powerful agents of peace and security, they are still well underrepresented as official participants at the UN.” Despite resolution 1325 (2000) calls for women’s participation in peace building processes, it is still a challenge to integrate women in international peace mediation positions.

Women are significantly outnumbered by men, or excluded in some cases, in peace consultations.  According to the UN Women, between 1992 and 2011, less than 10 per cent of negotiators at peace tables were women.

This trend is unfortunate, because the significant role women hold as advocates can pave the way for successful peace building and for sustainable peace. It is therefore crucial that the UN Security Council and Member States strongly enforce resolution 1325, in order for more women to participate fully in peace negotiations. This action will help rectify the perception many have about women simply being victims in conflict.  Far from it, women are not just victims, but are also vital agents of peace and reconciliation, spanning from local communities to the international sphere.

Read more: Facts and Figures: Peace and Security;  http://bit.ly/ZWlt0u