INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: ORANGE THE WORLD: #HEARMETOO

1“Not until the half of our population represented by women and girls can live free of fear, violence, and insecurity, the world cannot pride itself on being fair and equal.” These were the words of the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, at an event to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. This day is observed every year on November 25 to raise awareness on gender-based violence. The theme for the 2018 celebration is Orange the World: #HearMeToo. The color orange is used to draw global attention to the pandemic issue of violence against women, while the hashtag is encouraged to amplify the message of survivors and activists and to put them at the centre of the conversation.

Below are some alarming figures from the UN, highlighting the prevalence of violence against women and girls:

  • 1 in 3 women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, most frequently by an intimate partner
  • Only 52% of women married or in a union freely make their own decisions about sexual relations, contraceptive use and health care
  • Worldwide, almost 750 million women and girls alive today were married before their 18th birthday; while 200 million women and girls have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM)
  • 1 in 2 women killed worldwide were killed by their partners or family in 2012; while only 1 out of 20 men were killed under similar circumstances
  • 71% of all human trafficking victims worldwide are women and girls, and 3 out of 42 of these women and girls are sexually exploited
  • Violence against women is as serious a cause of death and incapacity among women of reproductive age as cancer, and a greater cause of ill health than traffic accidents and malaria combined.

Are you aware of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign which begins every year on 25th November and ends on 10th December (International Human Rights Day)? According to the UN Women, 16 Days of Activism is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world.  The theme of the 2018 campaign is “End Gender-Based Violence in the World of Work.”

What can you do from where you are to contribute to ending violence against women and girls?

Read more:

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women: https://bit.ly/2gpPkLd

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women: https://bit.ly/1jEADx3

 

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INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ERADICATION OF POVERTY: “COMING TOGETHER WITH THOSE FURTHEST BEHIND TO BUILD AN INCLUSIVE WORLD OF UNIVERSAL RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND DIGNITY”

1The United Nations commemorates the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on 17 October every year.  The theme for the 2018 celebration is, “Coming together with those furthest behind to build an inclusive world of universal respect for human rights and dignity.” Over 700 million people worldwide still live in extreme poverty, that is, on less than $1.90 a day (World Bank). In addition to economic exclusion, people living in poverty also suffer social and political exclusion. They often do not have a voice in the formulation of policies that impact their lives. And, as the saying goes, “if you are not at the table, you are on the menu.” So, International Day for the Eradication of Poverty offers opportunity for people living in poverty to take the floor to speak on their experience of poverty. To mark the event at the UN, people living in poverty from within and outside the US were invited to address the global body on some of the challenges they encounter.

In his opening remarks at the event, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, noted2 that; “Ending extreme poverty is not a matter of charity, but a question of justice.” He further stressed that “poverty is not inevitable, it is not a natural state of being or occurrence.”  But as he pointed out, “poverty is often the outcome of choices that society makes.” Studies have shown that it is possible to eradicate extreme poverty in this century, if governments have the political will to dedicate the required resources to building human capital and providing social services. Through the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, world leaders made the commitment to eradicate extreme poverty in their respective countries. It is now the responsibility of citizens of every country to hold their governments accountable to this commitment.

As the UN marks the 70th anniversary since the adoption of the “landmark document” on human rights, the Universal Declaration of Human of Rights, it is important to highlight the connection between poverty and human rights. Access to services such as basic healthcare, education, housing, clean water, and sanitation is a human right that governments are obliged to provide for the people.

Learn more:

Watch the event for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty at the UN: https://bit.ly/2yowM66

To End Extreme Poverty by 2030, We Need to Tackle Inequality:  https://bit.ly/2OJwfoq

World Bank September, 2018, Press Release on Extreme Poverty: https://bit.ly/2OxyqIl

 

WORLD PEACE DAY: “THE RIGHT TO PEACE: THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AT 70”

#1International Day for Peace is marked on the 21st   day of September every year around the world. This day, according to the United Nations General Assembly, is devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.  Peace is not necessarily the absence of conflict. A truly peaceful society can only be achieved where the human rights of individuals in a society, irrespective of ethnicity, sex or creed are upheld and respected, and their basic needs are met. The theme for the 2018 Peace Day is; “The Right to Peace: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70.” This theme was deliberately chosen to correspond with the event of the 70th anniversary celebration of the adoption (10 December 1948) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “a milestone document in the history of human rights.”

The 2018 International Peace Day ceremony, marked by the traditional ringing of the Peace Bell, was led by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, at the UN Peace Garden in New York.

 

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Mr. Guterres rings the Peace Bell

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ 2018 Peace Day message:

“This year we mark the International Day of Peace as we prepare to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This foundational document is a reminder that peace takes root when people are free from hunger, poverty and oppression and can thrive and prosper.  With the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as our guide, we must ensure the achievement of the Sustainable     Development Goals. I encourage you to speak up. For gender equality.  For inclusive societies.  For climate action.  Do your part at school, at work, at home. Every step counts. Let us act together to promote and defend human rights for all, in the name of lasting peace for all.”

 Learn more: International Day of Peace: https://bit.ly/YpcjJT

Watch the UN Peace Day ceremony: https://bit.ly/2pqhlW1

SOCIAL PROTECTION SYSTEMS: TOOL FOR REDUCING EXTEREME POVERTY AND INEQUALITY

5The World Banks defines extreme poverty as living on less than $1.90 per day. The organization estimates that about 10.7% of the world’s population or 760 million people still live in extreme poverty. World leaders made a commitment in 2015 through the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to eradicate extreme poverty by the year 2030. SDG 1 calls for an “End to Poverty in all its Forms Everywhere.” Access to Social Protection or social security has been identified as key to achieving SDG 1. Therefore, SDG 1:3 states that governments “implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 to achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable.” As described by the International Labour Organization (ILO), Social Protection or social security are set of policies and programmes designed to reduce and prevent poverty and vulnerability across the life cycle. This includes nine main areas: child and family benefits, maternity protection, unemployment support, employment injury benefits, sickness benefits, health protection, old-age benefits, disability benefits and survivors’ benefits.

The Director-General of the ILO, Mr. Guy Ryder, notes that “when access to essential benefits and services is guaranteed for mothers and children, for persons with disabilities or illness, for the elderly and unemployed, countries actually make their economies resilient while ensuring the human rights to social security.” Unfortunately, only 1 in 5 people around the world have access to universal social protection coverage as indicated in the 2017 – 2019 World Social Protection Report. Governments must therefore, recognize that providing social protection for the people is not only the right and just thing to do, it is actually a very economic smart thing to do. Countries that have made efforts in expanding their safety net programmes have seen a rapid decline in the rate of poverty and experienced economic growth.

Read more:

ILO World Social Protection Report 2017 – 2019: https://bit.ly/2CyyaTn

Infographic : https://bit.ly/2BbsTV2

2018 WORLD DAY AGAINST TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS: “RESPONDING TO THE TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE”

7A United Nations General Assembly resolution 64/293 designated July 30th as the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons in 2013. This was to “raise awareness of the situation of victims of human trafficking and for the promotion and protection of the rights of victims of human trafficking.” Trafficking in persons is a global phenomenon to which no country is immune. Pope Francis has called it a crime against humanity. And the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, describes human trafficking as a ‘vile crime that feeds on inequality, instability and conflict.’ Mr. Guterres laments that “human traffickers too often operate with impunity, with their crimes receiving not nearly enough attention.” Human trafficking has been described as the fastest-growing criminal business enterprise earning criminals over $150 billion annually. Trafficking in persons often involve very powerful local or international criminal syndicates who in many instances evade prosecution because of weak or corrupt criminal justice system.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime 2016 (UNODC) Global Report on Trafficking in Persons8 indicates that children are the second most commonly detected group of victims of trafficking after women. Between 25 – 30 percent of the total victims of human trafficking victims detected over the 2012-2014 period were children. This is especially true for the Sub-Saharan African region. It is estimated that over 10 million children worldwide are currently in the situation of slavery. This is the worst form of violence against children. One child in slavery is far too many.  For this reason, the UNODC has chosen, ‘responding to the trafficking of children and young people’ as the theme for the 2018 World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.

Read more:

UN Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons: https://bit.ly/2LD8HRC

June 2018, Issue Brief on Children in Trafficking by the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons: https://bit.ly/2AiEYbn

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons: https://bit.ly/1pnkWx6

2016 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons: https://bit.ly/2jqIZ09

 

SOCIAL PROTECTION SYSTEMS: TOOL FOR REDUCING EXTEREME POVERTY AND INEQUALITY

5The World Banks defines extreme poverty as living on less than $1.90 per day. The organization estimates that about 10.7% of the world’s population or 760 million people still live in extreme poverty. World leaders made a commitment in 2015 through the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to eradicate extreme poverty by the year 2030. SDG 1 calls for an “End to Poverty in all its Forms Everywhere.” Access to Social Protection or social security has been identified as key to achieving SDG 1. Therefore, SDG 1:3 states that governments “implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 to achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable.” As described by the International Labour Organization (ILO), Social Protection or social security are set of policies and programmes designed to reduce and prevent poverty and vulnerability across the life cycle. This includes nine main areas: child and family benefits, maternity protection, unemployment support, employment injury benefits, sickness benefits, health protection, old-age benefits, disability benefits and survivors’ benefits.

The Director-General of the ILO, Mr. Guy Ryder, notes that “when access to essential benefits and services is guaranteed for mothers and children, for persons with disabilities or illness, for the elderly and unemployed, countries actually make their economies resilient while ensuring the human rights to social security.” Unfortunately, only 1 in 5 people around the world have access to universal social protection coverage as indicated in the 2017 – 2019 World Social Protection Report. Governments must therefore, recognize that providing social protection for the people is not only the right and just thing to do, it is actually a very economic smart thing to do. Countries that have made efforts in expanding their safety net programmes have seen a rapid decline in the rate of poverty and experienced economic growth.

Read more:

ILO World Social Protection Report 2017 – 2019: https://bit.ly/2CyyaTn

Infographic : https://bit.ly/2BbsTV2

“WORLD HEALTH DAY 2018 UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE: EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE

1Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is a human right. According to the Director- General of the World Health Organization (WHO), “no one should get sick and die just because they are poor, or because they cannot access healthcare services.” Sadly, a recent report by the WHO indicates that about half the world’s population still do not have full coverage of essential healthcare services. In order to highlight this issue, the WHO focused on Universal Health Coverage for the 2018 World Health Day commemorated on 7th April. WHO describes Universal Health Coverage as “means where all individuals and communities receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardships. These would include the full spectrum of essential quality health services, from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care.”

ACTION: World leaders made a commitment in 2015 through the Sustainable Development Goals to provide health care for all by the year 2030. Do you know what2 progress your country is making to achieve this goal? Everyone can take the lead towards universal health coverage! Make your voice heard, start a local campaign on UHC. Click here to find out what you can do to educate yourself on this very crucial issue. Become an advocate for UHC, for those who otherwise cannot afford healthcare in your country!

Read more:   

World Health Day; https://bit.ly/2BxaPE6

Download World Health Day advocacy kit: https://bit.ly/2rCXC6n

WHO facts on universal health coverage: https://bit.ly/2jM1D4w