In case you missed this from our January newsletter:

8 2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). DO YOU KNOW YOUR HUMAN RIGHTS? Learn the UDHR. Encourage others to do the same. Teach the UDHR to your students.  Click here to download illustrated copy of the UDHR.

ACTION: 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 Human Rights; http://bit.ly/2nQeV4G

#Standup4humanrights campaign: http://bit.ly/2A5a81t

Illustrated booklet of the UDHR: http://bit.ly/2hTiaDI

Educational resources for teaching the UDHR to youths: https://bit.ly/2J7InJD

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UN PERMANENT FORUM ON INDIGENOUS ISSUES: “INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ COLLECTIVE RIGHTS TO LANDS, TERRITORIES AND RESOURCES”

6The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) held it’s Seventeenth Session from April 16 – 27. The theme for the 2018 forum was; “Indigenous Peoples’ Collective Rights to Lands, Territories and Resources.” According to the UNPFII, indigenous peoples are inheritors and practitioners of unique cultures and ways of relating to people and the environment. Indigenous Peoples have retained social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that are distinct from those of the dominant societies in which they live. Several indigenous communities from around the globe were represented at the UNPFII. Many of them had opportunities to present statements on issues of concern to their different communities.

The President of the UN General Assembly, Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, in his opening remarks

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Indigenous Peoples at the UN.  UN Photo

at the forum, painted the grim picture of the situation of the over 300 million Indigenous Peoples around the world. He noted that while Indigenous Peoples make up about 5 percent of the world’s population, they comprise 15 per cent of the world’s poorest people.  A situation he described as ‘shocking.’ Mr. Lajčák also

highlighted some of the challenges faced by Indigenous Peoples as violations of their human rights, marginalization, and violence they face for asserting their rights. Focusing on the theme of indigenous land, territories and resources, Mr. Lajčák pointed out that, “Indigenous Peoples are being dispossessed of the lands their ancestors called home,” often by big time and multi-national farmers and mining corporations. The President of the UN General Assembly, Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, in his opening remarks at the forum painted the grim picture of the situation of the over 300 million Indigenous Peoples around the world. He noted that while Indigenous Peoples make up about 5 percent of the world’s population, they comprise 15 per cent of the world’s poorest people.  A situation he described as ‘shocking.’ Mr. Lajčák also

In a recent report by Conselho Indigenista Missionaria (“Indigenous Missionary Council” – a subsidiary of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil), some of the challenges faced by a number of indigenous communities in Brazil (as well as indigenous communities around the world) include; high rate of suicide, lack of health care, high child mortality, alcohol and drug, lack of indigenous education and lack of general support from the State.

Learn more:

UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues: https://bit.ly/2pvCccv

UN News on Indigenous Peoples’ land rights: https://bit.ly/2H4EU1M

Conselho Indigenista Missionaria report on violence against indigenous peoples in brazil in English, Espanol and Portugese: https://bit.ly/2F1w133

MOTHER EARTH DAY: “END PLASTIC POLLUTION!”

1April 22nd is International Mother Earth Day. The theme for the 2018 earth day is: “End Plastic Pollution.” International Mother Earth Day is celebrated to remind each of us that the Earth and its ecosystems provide us with life and sustenance, and our responsibility to care for the earth. Earth Day also provides an opportunity to raise public awareness around the world to the challenges regarding the well-being of the planet and all the life it supports. The theme for this year’s celebration is very timely. Plastic waste has become so pervasive that Mother Earth is almost “drowning in the ocean of plastic pollution.” Take a look around your environment, and you will be amazed at the number of items within your view that are made of plastic. It is estimated that there are over 150 million tons of plastic in the ocean. Plastic pollution is not just limited to the ocean, the land is also heavily polluted.  They say, it takes an average of 450 years for plastic to decompose!

ACTIONS: Say NO to, or at least resolve to minimize the use of plastic materials such as shopping bags, bottled water, straws, cups, etc. Plant a tree, if possible. Plant something organic!!!

Related Sustainable Development Goals:  Picture1

 

Learn more:

United Nations Environment Programme: https://bit.ly/2vvDIza

Religions for Peace Leaders Call for Action to Protect the Earth: https://bit.ly/2qOIsdt (video)

International Mother Earth Day – Animated: https://bit.ly/2FNeZLk (video)

Plastic pollution primer and action toolkit: https://bit.ly/2IWbvo3

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

 

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

62ND COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN: “CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES IN ACHIEVING GENDER EQUALITY AND THE EMPOWERMENT OF RURAL WOMEN AND GIRLS.”

1There is currently a sweeping global movement for women’s rights, equality, and justice. This global activism for gender equality has also been fueled by the recent #MeToo, #TimesUp, and other local campaigns/movements against the exploitation and marginalization of women in public and private spheres. From the global North to South, women are increasingly reclaiming their agency and speaking out against centuries of injustices, socio-economic and political exclusion, and discrimination. It was within this climate of women’s activism on gender equality, that over four thousand women from all walks of life from across the globe, gathered at the United Nations Headquarters in New York for the annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). The commission took place from March 12 – 23. The CSW is the UN Commission that draws the largest number of participants from around the world (largely comprised of women).

The CSW is the principal intergovernmental body primarily designated to promote 2gender equality and the empowerment of women. It is a functional commission of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), established by the General Assembly Council resolution 11(II) of 21 June 1946. The CSW is dedicated to promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and in shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women (UN Women). The main theme for the 2018 Commission (CSW62) was, “Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls.” Speaking at an event to mark the International Women’s Day on March 8, the UN Secretary General noted that, “achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge of our time.” And one would add that this challenge is even greater for women and girls within rural areas.

A message from H.E. Geraldine Byrne Nason, Chair of CSW62: http://bit.ly/2DrgXLE

CSW62: https://bit.ly/2AEUBoN

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