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.

HAITI: NGOS CONTRIBUTE TO UN HUMAN RIGHTS REVIEW PROCESS

Jeannette Pierre-LouisThe Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves regular assessment of the human rights records of all UN Member States. During the UPR process, Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) are invited to contribute their perspectives and recommendations on the human rights situation of any country under review. In March a coalition of NGOs with presence in Haiti submitted their report to the UN Human Rights Council for consideration at the time of Haiti’s UPR in November 2016. We are especially grateful to Jeannette Pierre-Louis, SNDdeN, who contributed to Section V, The Right to Education (p. 10).

View a PDF of the entire report:  images.pngHaiti UPR_final (English)

Spotlight on Les Cayes, Haiti: Food Security and Nutrition Programs Make a Difference

English Zero Hunger Logo.jpgThrough 17 newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals, all countries have pledged to work together to End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture (Goal 2). Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur are already working on this goal in Haiti. Notre Dame Family Education Center (NDFEC) serves 90 children and 60 adults in the impoverished neighborhood of La Savane on the outskirts of Les Cayes. Directed by Sister Jeannette Pierre-Louis, NDFEC is supported by Notre Dame Mission Volunteers (http://www.ndmva.org/) Haitian volunteer-teachers, adult professional volunteers, and regular youth volunteers.

As reported by Caitlin Clarke, ND Mission Volunteer, streets in La Savane are unpaved, houses are made fromLa Savane - children in classroom.jpg salvaged materials, water must be obtained from wells in the streets, and no municipal latrine system is in place. Unemployment and illiteracy rates hover around 80%, and 60% of the children are unable to afford school fees so they drop out before 6th grade. One of the reasons childhood malnutrition rates are so high in La Savane (80% of children eat only one meal a day) is unemployment; parents are unable to afford more than one meal a day for their children.

NDFEC (https://vimeo.com/123042780) has three programs that focus on food security and nutrition:

  • NDFEC’s St. Julie Youth Group started a garden on an acre of land outside of Les Cayes. In October they harvested seventy-five pounds of corn which was distributed in one- or two-pound bags to 40 members of the center, and used to provide two hot meals to the children (about 60 children served). The youth group then planted black beans and vegetables to be harvested and distributed among the youth group and families at the center.
  • NDFEC is developing a local community garden at the center. Facilitated by ND Mission Volunteers and children who attend the center, the garden will provide food and nutrition education and enable children to learn how to grow their own food in an urban setting.
  • To bolster employment and generate income, NDFEC will open a community bakery to give a means of employment for 20 families at the center and provide an affordable food source to the community. Profits of the bakery will be re-invested in the community via the micro-finance and scholarship programs available at NDFEC. https://vimeo.com/129126711

GLOBAL FORUM: CONTRIBUTIONS OF CIVIL SOCIETY TO MIGRATION

By Grace Amarachi Ezeonu, Intern in the SNDatUN Office, and SNDatUN delegate to the 8th Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD)  

Amarachi Grace Ezeonu“Creating a conducive environment which supports the realization of the full developmental potential of international migration and migrants is one of the key concerns of the 2015 Global Forum on Migration and Development. International migration has become a force for the economic, social, and cultural development of both the countries of origin and of destination of migrants. To fully harness the enormous possibilities of human mobility for sustainable development, a suitable policy framework for the protection of migrants must be put in place at the national, regional and global levels. This requires the partnership, cooperation and concerted efforts of all stakeholders including civil society organizations (CSOs), governments, and the private sector.

handsPerspectives from CSOs on the different topics for discussion during this forum would be invaluable to addressing the complexities of international migration and migrants. This dialogue is necessary because CSOs can provide their hands-on experience through work with migrants in different situations globally. As in the previous forums, I trust that CSOs will continue to be persistent in their advocacy for systemic change in policies at all levels to ensure that the human rights (especially labor and social rights) of migrants are protected. I am delighted to represent the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur at this crucial global forum, along with 300 other participants from various CSOs around the world, and look forward to the opportunity to learn and network with others.” http://bit.ly/1U6F7Sr

TESTIMONY: LIVING WITH HOPE AND COURAGE UNTIL SOCIAL PROTECTION IS AVAILABLE TO ALL

By Ines Prisca Bikindou, SNDdeN      “I work at St. Julie Billiart Hospital in Ngidinga, Democratic Republic of Congo, as an accountant and cashier. It is my first experience in this town where the population is predominantly poor, so that to pay for hospitalization is really hard. The political situation is sad, the majority of the population poor, the wages they receive cannot reach the end of the month, and to the east of the country there is always war, so we live in total insecurity. But God who is good always protects us. Despite the situation of life, God gives us the courage to move forward and we do not lose confidence that what we create is stronger.”

SOCIAL PROTECTION: AN INVESTMENT IN PEOPLE

“Social protection refers to a set of policies and programmes designed to reduce poverty, vulnerability, and inequality. The UN takes a rights-based approach to social protection within the context of the Social Protection Floor (SPF) framework, which promotes universal access to essential social services and transfers along the life course.” With these challenging words the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors, a coalition of more than 70 organizations, launched its proposal that governments adopt a first level of basic social protection for all and then improve the quality of protection as soon as possible. Some countries are already doing this with good programs that others could adapt to their situations.

Social ProtectionWhat needs to be included? Essential health care; nutrition, education, and care for children; income security for older persons and for active persons unable to work.

*****************

If I walk with the poor today, I may find a new person in me tomorrow.
Anonymous

TAKING THE CONFLICT OUT OF CONFLICT MINERALS: HOPE FOR CONGO

A recent report by the United Nations Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of Congo indicates that legislation passed on the national level in various countries, including the United States, is helping to curb illegal activities in eastern Congo.  Individuals are making a difference too.  The Enough Project shares that “actor and activist Jeffrey Wright’s mining company, Taia Lion Resources, is helping take the conflict out of conflict minerals. His company’s approach in Sierra Leone has parallels for eastern Congo, where the fight to control the lucrative minerals trade is fueling the world’s deadliest war.”

Watch Jeffrey Wright’s compelling 3-minute video > http://bit.ly/PCOfeB  (in English)

Jeffrey Wright

Photo: Wikipedia

Related article:

Jeffrey Wright: Creating Conflict-Free Companies for the 21st Century (huffingtonpost.com)