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/

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EVERYONE HAS THE RIGHT TO A LIFE 0F DIGNITY; LIBERTY AND SECURITY OF PERSON

#3By Juliana Marques Boyd, SNDatUN Intern: Everyone has the right to a life of dignity. This basic human right as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights implies that a person has, or at least is given, the opportunity to attain his or her fullest potential in a given society. It is the duty of the government of every country to provide its citizens their basic human rights. However, when a certain demographic of the population are denied their fundamental human rights, either because of their race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or for whatever reason, this often breeds frustration and resentment. And if not timely addressed, frustration and resentment often result in violence. No human being is born a criminal, but a person’s circumstance in life may place him or her on this trajectory. This notion is especially true with young people.

The world is facing new and difficult times when curbing violent crimes, whether within or across borders, is becoming a great challenge for governments and the international community. Many people are still of the opinion that violence should be combatted with violence. In other words, the law enforcement should use heavy-handed techniques to deal with criminals, and criminals should be incarcerated without the option of rehabilitation programs. This option may sound appealing since incarceration may act as deterrence to crime.  But this solution to crime is not sustainable. There are always historical, social, economic, psychological or political factors to why people commit violent crimes. Therefore, in order to effectively combat violence, it is very important to first examine some of these factors. Addressing the social structure in any society that perpetuates the subjugation or exclusion of certain demographics of its population could offer a more sustainable solution to the issue of violence and crime; this could be presented in opposition to the combatant solutions being proffered by many governments. It is often injustice which breeds violence. And simply put, violence only breeds violence. Any society that covertly or overtly denies a certain population of its young people the opportunity for social engagement and upward social mobility is susceptible to violent crimes.

I want to assure my readers that my article is certainly not an apology to perceived or #4real criminals. Where a person comes from or what the person has been through in life should never justify crime. However, my article seeks to remind us that many governments have failed to protect their citizens as well as ensure that its young are provided the opportunity to thrive in peaceful and fruitful environments. Every society should do its soul-searching on whether it supports a social structure that equally provides for the needs of every member of that society notwithstanding the person’s social, religious, economic, racial or ethnic background. Until all these factors are considered, the perceived ‘criminal’ may actually be a “victim”.   Everyone has the right to a life of dignity, liberty, and security!

Read more:   What are human rights? http://bit.ly/JakXo5

RELIGIOUS AND MIGRATION IN THE 21ST CENTURY: WOMEN AND MIGRATION IN THE AFRICAN CONTEXT

5Six Catholic Religious Congregations at the United Nations, namely; Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Congregations of St. Joseph, Franciscans International, Augustinians International, Passionists International and VIVAT International are collaboratively sponsoring a two-day workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, from June 6-8.    This is part of an effort by these Catholic Religious congregations/NGOs at the UN to educate and empower their members at the grassroots on the very crucial issue of migration and human trafficking. The theme of the workshop is; “Women and Migration in the African Context: Religious and Migration in the 21st Century

Read more:

Women and Migration in the African Context: http://bit.ly/2pGFXYt

International Organization for Migration: http://gmdac.iom.int/

Global Migration Trends Factsheet by the International Organization for Migration: http://bit.ly/2nJo1iy

 

UNITED NATIONS DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES: MEASURES TAKEN TO IMPLEMENT THE DECLARATION

4Representatives of indigenous communities from around the world gathered in New York from April 23rd to May 5th for the 16th United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.  This year’s forum was particularly special because it marked the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples. Discussions at the forum were focused on measures taken by the international community, Member States of the UN and all stakeholders to implement the Declaration. The forum acknowledged progress by some member states in realizing the rights of indigenous peoples since the adoption of the Declaration ten years ago, but also expressed concerns about lack of implementation by many countries.

 

Read more:

UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues: http://bit.ly/1ompreW

Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; http://bit.ly/2rB8qDM

Draft report on the 16th Session: http://bit.ly/2q4Qm0e

UNITED NATIONS OFFICE ON DRUGS AND CRIME: 2016 GLOBAL REPORT ON TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS

The pic-2United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), launched its 2016 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons at the UN Headquarter in New York, on December 22, 2016. The following are some of the issues highlighted in the report; no country is immune from trafficking in persons, trafficking in persons has changed in recent years, victims and traffickers often have the same background, people are trafficked for many exploitative purposes, cross-border trafficking flows often resembles regular migration flows, conflict can help drive trafficking in persons, and often the most vulnerable, children, are trafficked. The report also noted that that even with solid legislative progress mad thus far, there are still very few convictions of perpetrators.

Click here to download this very informative UNDOC report
Read more: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime; http://bit.ly/1RaFYPz
UN Security Council on Human Trafficking; http://bit.ly/2hSwB9x

 

UN INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS DAY: “WOMEN’S RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS”

newsletter-1Violence against women and girls is an endemic phenomenon. It is wide spread and happens both in the public and private spheres. Violence against women and girls also takes many forms. It could be physical, psychological, sexual, or emotional. To put an end to this human menace, concerted efforts on the part of community, religious, and civic leaders is required. The media also has an important role to play in the eradication of violence against women.
The United Nations (UN) has designated November 25th as the International Day for the newsletter-2Elimination of Violence against Women. The purpose of this event is to raise awareness on the occurrence of violence against women and girls. This day also marks the beginning of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence Campaign. The 16 Days of Activism is a time to “to raise awareness and galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world.” This campaign culminates in the celebration of the International Human Rights Day on December 10. “Women’s rights are human rights” (Hilary Clinton).
newsletter-3The theme for the 2016 Human Rights Day is “Stand up for Someone’s Rights Today.” In the midst of what appears to be growing animosity among peoples, Mr. Zeid Ra’ad, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has charged all global citizens to reach out to one another. In his words, “It’s time for each of us to step up for human rights. There is no action that is too small: wherever you are, you can make a difference. Together, let’s take a stand for more humanity.” Whose rights are you going to stand up for these days?

Read: UNiTE to End Violence Against Women: http://bit.ly/1htCGlg                                                           16 Days of Activism: http://bit.ly/109KHJ1
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women:                                                 http://bit.ly/1sXAk2J

UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY SUMMIT: SAFETY AND DIGNITY OF REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS

The glRefugees summit page en.pngobal scale of migrants and refugees currently witnessed is unprecedented. According to the United Nations (UN) 2015 data, the number of refugees and migrants around the world was over 244 million, (a 41% increase compared to 2000). Migration is a very complex global issue that will require concerted efforts from the international community to find lasting and sustainable solutions. The UN has taken on the responsibility to galvanize the Member States for global action on this phenomenon. On September 19, 2016, the UN General Assembly will host a High-Level Summit, the first ever called for Heads of State and Governments on Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants. Major tasks of the summit will include considerations regarding to best means for the international community to respond to the growing issue of refugees and migrants, and to formulate a blueprint for improved international, regional, and national responses.
Ban Ki-moon refugees.png
As a lead up to the September 19 Summit, the Secretary General of the UN, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, released a report in May 2016, titled: “In Safety and Dignity: Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants.” This report provides background for the September Summit. It also calls for a comprehensive framework for addressing the large movements of migrants and refugees, root causes of such movements, and the need to protect the human rights of those compelled to embark on such often perilous journeys.

Learn more:

  •  “I was waiting for recess. Diary of a child in detention” wins the first edition of the “Justice for Children” Award: defenceforchildren.org
  •  Interactive map showing origins and destinations of migration 1990-2015 allows one to select a country and a year and then click on another country to see how many of its people that year immigrated into or emigrated from the first country.