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:

Video of Pope Francis on Migrants and Refugees:

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees:




01The United Nations (UN) was founded in the aftermath of World War II in 1945. To forestall the tragedy of another world war, “to promote social progress and better standards of living, human rights and freedoms” are some of the principal objectives of the organization. On December 10, 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This complements the UN Charter. The UDHR which sets out fundamental rights of people to be universally promoted was the result of the experience of atrocity crimes committed against the Jews and other minority groups during World War II. The document is considered the UN’s “road map for guaranteeing the rights and freedoms of individuals everywhere.” The UDHR has been translated into over 500 languages, making it the single most translated document in history.

December 10, 2018 will mark the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the UDHR. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on December 10, 2017 launched a year -long campaign to mark the 70th anniversary of the UDHR. This campaign tagged, #STANDUP4HUMANRIGHTS, is to highlight the importance of the UDHR in the lives of people around the world. According to the OHCHR, the campaign is aimed at three main objectives; to engage a broad base of audiences’ world over, to help promote an understanding of how the Universal Declaration of Human Rights empowers us all; and to encourage further reflection on the ways that each of us can stand up for human rights, every day.

Ways to engage:

KNOW YOUR FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS. Learn the UDHR. Encourage others to do the same. Teach the UDHR in schools this year.  Click here to download illustrated booklet of the UDHR.

Join in the #standup4humanrights campaign and take the following pledge:

  • I will respect your rights regardless of who you are. I will uphold your rights even when I disagree with you
  • When anyone’s human rights are denied, everyone’s rights are undermined, so I will STAND UP
  • I will raise my voice. I will take action. I will use my rights to stand up for your rights.

Read more:

History of the Universal Declaration of HumanRights;

#Standup4humanrights campaign:

Illustrated booklet of UDHR:


2Extreme poverty is a violation of human rights. On December 22, 1992, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, in resolution 47/196, declared October 17 as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The theme for 2017 celebration is, “Answering the Call of October 17 to end poverty: A path toward peaceful and inclusive society.” The observance of October 17 was inspired by the Call to Action by Father Joseph Wresinski; founder of International Movement ATD Fourth World, a nongovernmental organization that aims to eradicate extreme poverty through human rights based approach. Since the adoption of this resolution, some progress has been made toward global poverty eradication. Yet, significant work towards this goal remains.

There are sufficient resources in the world for fair allocation to every individual, yet3 millions of people live in extreme poverty. This occurrence is because only a handful of the world’s population controls the bulk of the world’s resources, leaving the majority of the world’s population in poverty. A recent report by Oxfam International clearly illustrates this sad situation.  According to this report published by Oxfam in January 2017 titled, An Economy for the 99%, eight men own the same wealth as the 3.8 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity. This is simply not acceptable! As stated by the former President of the United States, Barack Obama, to the UN General Assembly in 2016, “a world where 1% of humanity controls as much wealth as the bottom 99% will never be stable.”

In 2015, world leaders under the auspices of the United Nations made a commitment to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030 by adopting the Sustainable Development Goals, with the eradication of poverty as its first goal.

Read more:

UNSG message on poverty:

An Economy for the 99%:

Poverty is Political: These 3 Things Will Help Us Eliminate It:


1The United Nations General Assembly, in a resolution adopted on December 2011, declared October 11 of every year as the International Day of the Girl Child. The purpose of this day is to increase awareness and address the needs and challenges girls around the world face. It is also a day to specifically advocate for the empowerment of girls and the promotion of their human rights. Some of the challenges faced by girls around the world include a lack of access to quality education, gender-based discrimination, forced marriage, lack of quality healthcare, and numerous others.

 It is important that teachers and those who work with children, especially the girl child, familiarize themselves with some of the relevant UN human rights instruments in order to safeguard the rights of these children. Some pertinent mechanisms for reference in regards to the human rights of the girl child include the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Read more:

Convention on the Rights of the Child;

Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women;

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities:


5September 21 of every year is observed as the International Day of Peace.  World Peace Day which was established in 1981 by a United Nations resolution is designed to provide a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace. The theme for the 2017 World Peace Day is “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All. This theme reflects the spirit of the TOGETHER campaign, a global initiative launched during the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants on 19 September 2016 by the United Nations system in partnership with its 193 Member States and all the stakeholders ‘in support of diversity, non-discrimination and acceptance of refugees and migrants.

Below is the UN Secretary General’s message on the 2017 World Peace Day;


Children in Zataari camp, Jordan.  Couresty; UN/Rababah

“On the International Day of Peace, we reflect on the cruel price of war.  Ruined schools. Bombed hospitals.  Broken families.  Refugees searching for hope.  Countries in crisis.  The United Nations was born from a terrible World War.  Our mission is to work for peace — every day and everywhere.  No group interest, national ambition or political difference should be allowed to put peace at risk.   

On this International Day, we call for a global ceasefire.  We must never — ever — stop pressing for an end to armed conflict.  Peace is the right and desire of all people.  It is the foundation for progress and well-being – happy children, thriving communities, and peaceful, prosperous countries.  Let us pledge to work together – today and every day – for the peace we all yearn for and deserve.”

Watch the UNSG Message on 2017 World Peace Day:

Watch the PeaceChannel:




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;


#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?