INTERNATIONAL DAY OF REMEMBRANCE OF THE VICTIMS OF SLAVERY AND TRANSATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE: “TRIUMPHS STRUGGLES FOR FREEDOM AND EQUALITY”

5The transatlantic slave trade era which spanned from about 1501 to 1803, marked one of the darkest chapters in the history of humanity. Over 15 million children, women, and men were taken from the African continent and were enslaved in Europe and the Americas, to work mostly in plantations. The transatlantic slave trade became the largest forced migration in history. On December 17, 2007, the United Nations General Assembly in resolution 61/122 declared 25 March as the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, in commemoration of the victims of this horrendous act against humanity. The theme for the 2018 commemoration is: “Triumphs and Struggles for Freedom and Equality.”  Additionally, in 2014 The UN General Assembly declared 2015 – 2024, as the International Decade for the People of African Descent. Some of the main objectives of the International Decade according to the UN are to uphold the following:

Although, the transatlantic slave trade was formally abolished in the 19th century, modern day slavery continues to thrive till this day. In his remarks at the occasion of the unveiling of the Permanent Memorial to the Victims of the Transatlantic Slave Trade at the UN Headquarters in 2015, the Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, expressed his hope that “The Ark of Return will also serve as a call to action against the many contemporary manifestations of slavery, from human trafficking and sexual enslavement to debt bondage.”

 

Read more: Brazil: The Story of Slavery; http://bit.ly/2I3xzfM

International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and Transatlantic Slave Trade: http://bit.ly/15e9sGC

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the International Decade for the People of African Descent: http://bit.ly/2ocpCOc

 

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“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

SPOTLIGHT ON GLOBAL ISSUES: PARTICIPATE IN UN MEETINGS IN 2018

3Through the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur NGO Office, interested persons are able to participate in major UN meetings. There is no fee to attend these UN sessions, but participants are responsible for their housing, food, and transportation while attending the meeting. Funds are available to assist Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur from Latin America and Africa. If you are interested in attending a major UN meeting in New York in 2018, contact Sister Grace Amarachi Ezeonu as soon as possible at SNDatUN@sndden.org.  You can also follow UN meetings by webcast at http://webtv.un.org/. Below are some of the major UN sessions taking place in from January – April, 2018.

 

  • January 29 – February 7, 2018: 56th Commission on Social Development (New York). “Strategies for Eradicating Poverty to Achieve Sustainable Development for All” is  the priority theme for the 2018 policy cycle. http://bit.ly/2iJixzV
  • March 12 – 23, 2018: 62nd Commission on the Status of Women (New York).
    Theme: Challenges and Opportunities in Achieving Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Rural Women and Girls.” http://bit.ly/2AEUBoN
  • April 16 – 27, 2018: 17th Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (New York)  Theme: “Indigenous Peoples’ Collective Rights to Lands, Territories and Resources. http://bit.ly/2yXQtEa

THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY: 72ND GENERAL ASSEMBLY SESSIONS

1Every year, heads of government of all 193 Member States of the United Nations (UN) gather at the Headquarters of the organization in New York for the General Assembly (GA). The General Assembly (one of the six organs of the UN) is the only occasion that brings together leaders of all Member States annually. The 2017 Session of the GA, which was also the 72nd since the inception of the UN, was held from September 12-28.

What is the General Assembly? Below are some basic facts about the General Assembly. (Culled from the UN website).

Created in 1945, the General Assembly is the democratic heart of the UN. The General Assembly comprises of 193 Member States. Each has an equal voice in decision-making.It debates pressing issues that affects millions of people; Peace and Security, Human Rights, 2Development, and many more …It appoints the UN Secretary General.  And elects the non-permanent members of the Security Council. The General Assembly is where key decisions affecting all Member States are made. More than 500 Treaties have been created under the General Assembly auspices. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was agreed upon back in 1948. The 2015 Sustainable Development Goals were approved by the General Assembly, as a path to eradicate poverty and address climate change by 2030

 The 72nd General Assembly featured a signing ceremony of the new Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, and general debate on the following; UN reform, Climate Change Preventing sexual exploitation and abuse and Women’s economic empowerment.

 A number of global hotspots from Central African Republic, South Sudan and Yemen also took center stage during the 72nd General Assembly. 

 Read more: General Assembly of the United Nation; http://www.un.org/en/ga/

BREAKING NEWS: A NEW UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY GENERAL CHOSEN

11-16-3The United Nations General Assembly, on October 13, 2016, appointed Mr. Antonio Guterres as the new Secretary General. Mr. Guterres’ appointment was made by acclamation by the Security Council’s recommendation following the resolution’s adoption in a private meeting.

Many observers described the process for the election of Mr. Guterres as the most transparent and open process in the history of the UN’s election of any Secretary General. The process included a town hall debate at the General Assembly in July, where candidates for the position took questions from diplomats and members of the civil society. There were also several straw polls conducted by the Security Council. Many who had hoped for a woman Secretary General were a little disappointed.

Mr. Ban ki-Moon welcomed the appointment of Mr. Guterres, and described it as “an 11-16-4excellent choice.” Mr. Guterres brings his experience, as a former Prime Minister of Portugal and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, to his new role. He will assume his new position as the UN Chief on January, 1 2017, after Mr. Ban ki-Moon ends his tenure on December 31.
http://bit.ly/2eBcy0x

PLANNING FOR THE THIRD INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL

Day of the GirlOctober 11 will mark the third UN International Day of the Girl. Some of our schools are already preparing. “To help galvanize worldwide enthusiasm for goals to better girls’ lives and providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential” is the aim of young women at Notre Dame Academy, Toledo, Ohio. The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is providing leadership to a project which will not only fulfill requirements for a culminating project for the IB Diploma, but it will “raise awareness of the hardships girls around the world face solely based on their gender”.

NDA Toledo OH studentsTwo young women, with the support of their IB director, Ms. Angela Joseph, recognize that many girls living in poverty lack basic necessities, among them feminine materials and care. This situation results in girls’ inability to attend school on a regular basis. Carra Gibson and Isabel Abu-Absi are planning a multi-media education segment for the Day of the Girl, in their words, “to spread awareness about these issues and not only inform NDA girls about the needs that are commonly present, but to engage them and finally, empower them to do something about it”. Carra and Isabel are in touch with Sr. Jeannette Pierre-Louis, SND de Namur. Sister works at Notre Dame Family Center in Les Cayes, Haiti, to provide rudimentary education, health services, and job training skills to women and children. NDA will assist with funds for feminine care products and in the process get to know local culture and members of the local youth center, along with their volunteers.

beijing20.unwomen.org/en/in-focus/girl-child

OPENING OF THE 69TH UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY

General Assembly 2Each September, after summer holidays, the United Nations becomes a hub of activity again with the meetings surrounding the opening of the General Assembly which this year takes place on September 16. The new president of the Assembly, Sam Kahamba Kutesa, comes from Uganda and is currently Uganda’s Minister for Foreign Affairs. He proposed as the theme of the 69th session: ‘Delivering on and Implementing a Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda.’ He said this underscores the need to agree on the post-2015 agenda and also ensure its implementation. He emphasized the need “to address the means of implementation, in terms of financial resources, technology development, transfer and capacity-building,” including a strengthened global partnership. Kutesa also expressed commitment to reaching a global agreement on climate change, and advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Each year another region has the opportunity to choose a candidate for presiding over the General Assembly. Then the 193 member states draw lots to see which delegation will occupy the first seat. This year it will be Cuba. Other states will follow in English alphabetical order.

Monday, 22 – Tuesday, 23 September High-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples
Monday, 22 September
1 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Special session of the General Assembly on the follow-up to the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development
Tuesday, 23 September “Climate Summit 2014” convened by the Secretary-General
Wednesday, 24 September “General Debate” (statements from any of the 193 members who wish)

General Assembly Committees, at which NGOs are present and active, begin on October 7.