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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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

 

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

UNITED NATIONS CLIMATE CONFERENCE (COP23): CALL TO HOLD TO PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT PATH

4 Two years into the adoption of the Paris Climate Agreement, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, (COP23) was held in Bonn, Germany, from December 6 to 17. Against the background of the  horrific natural disasters around the world in recent months, there was a unified call by participants at the Conference to “hold to the path of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.” The effects of climate change are undeniably being felt by billions of people around the world, especially those already living in the most impoverished, vulnerable parts of the globe. For people living in Small Island Countries, the impacts of climate change are daily realities as they watch their homes gradually submerge in water.

In his opening remarks at the COP23, the UN Secretary General, Mr. Antonio Guterres5 described climate change “as the defining threat of our time.” It is therefore, our duty — to each other and to future generations — is to raise the ambition to combat it.”

The conference ended on Friday, November 17, with participants expressing a renewed sense of urgency and the need for greater ambition to tackle climate change.

Read more;

United Nations Climate Change Conference: http://bit.ly/2yr0tFB

Draft Outcome Document: http://bit.ly/2yY1RvC

 

 

LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND: END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS

1The United Nations General Assembly, in resolution 48/104, adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women on December 20, 1991. In 1998, November 25 was designated as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Violence against women is a violation of human rights. However, sadly, it is still the most pervasive form of discrimination.  Violence against women is a consequence of persisting inequalities between men and women, through which discrimination thrives. Women around the world continue to face violence and discrimination within classrooms, boardrooms, and on battlefields. Some of the prevalent forms of violence suffered by women and girls are intimate partner violence, sexual violence and harassment, human trafficking, female genital mutilation, and child marriage.

Violence against women and girls is preventable, and the elimination of such violence is 2essential for building a healthy, peaceful society. However, as noted in the UN Secretary General’s 2017 report on progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, “Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls will require more vigorous efforts, including legal frameworks, to counter deeply rooted gender-based discrimination that often results from patriarchal attitudes and related social norms.”

Ending gender-based violence and inequality requires the concerted effort of individuals, families, civil society organizations, community, and religious authorities. After all, “denying the rights of women and girls is not only wrong in itself; it has a serious social and economic impact that holds us all back.”  As rightly put by UN Secretary-General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, “denying the rights of women and girls is not only wrong in itself; it has a serious social and economic impact that holds us all back.”

Read more:

UN Women website: http://bit.ly/2hIfTy3

Learn about 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign. The theme for the 2017 campaign is “Together We Can End Gender-Based Violence in Education.” Also download the toolkit on gender-based violence in education from this link; http://bit.ly/2zjgyOd

Explore the facts: Violence Against Women; http://bit.ly/2irh0iJ

THE CALL TO END POVERTY: A PATH TOWARD PEACEFUL AND INCLUSIVE SOCIETIES

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:  https://youtu.be/GQ_ehELVScY

An Economy for the 99%: http://bit.ly/2jXPgES

Poverty is Political: These 3 Things Will Help Us Eliminate It: http://bit.ly/2yzT31B

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/