INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL CHILD: EMPOWER THE GIRL CHILD THROUGH EDUCATION

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; http://bit.ly/1HthiYh

Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women; http://bit.ly/1BbMigU

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: http://bit.ly/1ivfGUB

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INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE: “TOGETHER FOR PEACE, RESPECT, SAFETY AND DIGNITY FOR ALL”

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;

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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: http://bit.ly/2x2eDsY

Watch the PeaceChannel: http://bit.ly/2cRy3Zj

 

 

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/

CONFERENCE ON WOMEN AND MIGRATION IN THE AFRICAN CONTEXT: AN INFORMATIVE AND CHALLENGING EXPERIENCE

4By Elizabeth Chinamo, SNDdeN: I was privileged to have participated in a two-day conference on women and migration in Africa, held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 6-8 June. The conference was sponsored by six Catholic Religious Congregations, accredited as non-governmental organizations to the United Nations. Over 90 participants from about 10 African countries attended the conference. Some of the participants were currently engaged in work with migrants, some were migrants, while others were interested in learning more about migration issues. Seven Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur from Kenya, Congo-Kinshasa and Zimbabwe/South Africa provinces participated in the conference. Sister Joan Burke (Kenya) was among the local organizing team. I personally found this conference both informative and challenging.

We had input from representatives from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, International Organization for Migration, Kenyan Government, Kenyan Bishop Conference, and other organizations and individuals (including refugees and migrants). It was moving to hear from refugees who are now volunteers. I was also very impressed to hear the delegate from the Kenyan Government commend the efforts of Catholic Religious women and men in providing services to migrants and refugees, and their work against human trafficking. He expressed the interest of the government collaborating with them in future.

Input from the different presenters stimulated discussions among participants on issues 5such as providing adequate protection to migrants and refugees, victims of human trafficking, as well as addressing some of those factors that force people to migrate. During the conference, we went into working groups and worked on different topics for example: environment and migration, migration and public health, human trafficking, and advocacy. I joined 24 other participants to form a group centered on “Countering Trafficking in Person.” The group came up with a 7-Point Action Plan through which we were challenged to continue to work on, within our networks, as we return to our respective countries or regions.

Read more: About the Nairobi Conference; http://nairobi2017.weebly.com/

HUMAN TRAFFICKING: A MODERN FORM OF SLAVERY

2 By Juliana Marquee Boyd, SNDatUN Intern: Millions of people around the world are trafficked and forced into servitude or into the sex trade by criminal gangs or individuals. Often described as a “modern form of slavery,” human trafficking thrives in many societies and generates astronomic profits for the criminals. According to the International Labor Organization, forced labor, one form of exploitation into which humans are trafficked, generates USD$150 billion revenue a year, while the Global Slavery Index suggests there may be as many as 45.8 million people enslaved. A very significant number of victims of human trafficking are women and children.

On June 21st, 2017, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), representatives of governments, specialists, survivors and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) assembled at the United Nations (UN) to discuss strategies to combat and end human trafficking as well as to highlight the relevance of the Global Plan of Action and Sustainable Development Goals 5.2, 8.7, and 16.2. The Global Plan of Action (a resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2010) is a framework that helps Member States in the fight against trafficking of persons. The document is reviewed every few years by the General Assembly. The second section of the Global Plan of Action will be reviewed in September 2017. The latter seeks to promote sustainable peace and prosperity worldwide.

Some of the trafficking issues highlighted during the session were the following: 3trafficking that thrives in societies with high levels of poverty, unemployment, lack of socioeconomic opportunities, cultural issues, gender-based discrimination, and in areas affected by conflict and war. Governments were challenged to prosecute sex buyers and provide assistance to trafficking survivors. The need to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, both in public and private spheres, was also highlighted. The session affirmed the significant commitment and achievement by the governments of Panama and Sweden in combating human trafficking by promoting the decriminalization of sex workers and the prosecution of sex buyers instead.

Speaking at the occasion, the Permanent Representative of Panama to the United Nations, Laura Flores noted that human trafficking happens in every country; crossing multiple borders in origin and destinations. For this reason, she emphasized the need for strengthening international cooperation to combat this societal menace.

The Global Slavery Index: http://bit.ly/2uZTG09

Global Plan of Action Report: http://bit.ly/2ufWol8

United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime: https://www.unodc.org/

 

2017 HIGH LEVEL POLITICAL FORUM ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS: “ERADICATING POVERTY AND PROMOTING PROSPERITY IN A CHANGING WORLD”

1The High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development serves as the major platform for the follow-up and review of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals by Member States of the United Nations and its specialized agencies. The central theme for the 2017 HLPF, which took place from July 10-19, was “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world.” The following goals, including goal 17 (Means of Implementation), were reviewed during the forum:

Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere.

Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.

Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

Goal 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Goal 9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation.

Goal 14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development.

As part of the follow-up and review mechanism, Member States of the UN are encouraged to conduct regular and inclusive reviews of progress at the national and sub-national levels. These reviews are done on voluntary basis, and will be country-driven. Among the 43 countries that conducted their national voluntary view of the SDGs during the 2017 forum were Nigeria, Kenya, Belgium, Brazil, Peru, Japan, and Zimbabwe. Members of civil society organizations, UN agencies, the private sector, academia, and other stakeholders actively participated in the forum.

Read more:

High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development: http://bit.ly/1dNceHwSecretary General Antonio Guterres address and Professor Jeffrey Sachs’ analysis on “the state of the world” at the HLPF:  http://bit.ly/2ux9NFf

 

WORLD REFUGEE DAY: WHEN WE STAND WITH REFUGEES, WE ALSO STAND FOR RESPECT AND DIVERSITY FOR ALL

#5June 20, was World Refugee Day.  A recent report from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) stated the following: “The number of people forced to flee their homes by war and persecution has risen to record high for the third year running, with 65.6 million people displaced around the world – more than the population of Britain. The latest annual global trends study from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reports that one person was forced to leave their home every three seconds in 2016. The number of people displaced last year was 3,000,000 higher than 2015. According to the report, refugee numbers were the highest ever in 2016, at 22.5 million, with the majority of people coming from Syria, Afghanistan and South Sudan. Half of all refugees were children.”

On this Day, “we reflect on the courage of those who fled and the compassion of those who welcome them,” as quoted by the Secretary General of the UN, Mr. Antonio Guterres.

Click HERE to sign the UNHCR “StandwithRefugee” Petition to show your solidarity with Refugees