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/

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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

RELIGIOUS AND MIGRATION IN THE 21ST CENTURY: WOMEN AND MIGRATION IN THE AFRICAN CONTEXT

5Six Catholic Religious Congregations at the United Nations, namely; Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Congregations of St. Joseph, Franciscans International, Augustinians International, Passionists International and VIVAT International are collaboratively sponsoring a two-day workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, from June 6-8.    This is part of an effort by these Catholic Religious congregations/NGOs at the UN to educate and empower their members at the grassroots on the very crucial issue of migration and human trafficking. The theme of the workshop is; “Women and Migration in the African Context: Religious and Migration in the 21st Century

Read more:

Women and Migration in the African Context: http://bit.ly/2pGFXYt

International Organization for Migration: http://gmdac.iom.int/

Global Migration Trends Factsheet by the International Organization for Migration: http://bit.ly/2nJo1iy

 

INTERNATIONAL MIGRANTS DAY: MIGRATION ISSUES GETTING NEW ATTENTION AT THE UN ____________________________

newsletter-6The United Nations (UN) celebrates International Migrants Day on December 18. Issues related to migration are currently receiving greater attention at the UN than in the past. On September 19, the UN General Assembly made up of the 193 Member States, adopted the landmark New York Declaration on Migration and Refugees. As part of this initiative, a very intensive process involving Member States, as well as the active participation of the private sector, civil society, migrants and diaspora, has begun with the intent of producing a Global Compact on Migration. The process will be very rigorous, and will span throughout 2017 to the early part of 2018. The main objective of the initiative is to have the Global Compact on Migration document ready for adoption by the UN Member States in 2018.

In his speech at the adoption of the New York Declaration on September 19, the UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, indicated that the event represents a breakthrough in the collective efforts of Member States of the UN to address the challenges of human mobility.  The Global Compact on Migration will only increase in its impact once adopted.

Read more: Migration issue getting new attention at UN: migration-issues-worlds-refugees

 

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.

THE HUMAN RIGHT TO SEEK ASYLUM: A MAJOR CRISIS TODAY

KatieBlawie-167-WebBy Katie Blawie, Intern in the SNDatUN Office

The adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN General Assembly in 1948 signified a major milestone in the international fight for human rights and dignity. Still upheld today, this document of 30 articles transcends differences in religion, culture, politics, and other divisive issues, and represents worldwide unity. http://bit.ly/1e0ELb2

Article 14 graphicGiven the current migration crisis in Europe, I found Article 14 to be particularly interesting. Article 14(1) states: “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.” Dangerous conflict and violence in Syria, Afghanistan, and Eritrea, as well as other countries in the Middle East and Africa, have led to hundreds of thousands of people fleeing to Europe to seek asylum. This is considered a crisis both because of the divide among EU countries over how to handle the burden, and because of how many people are losing their lives attempting to make this migration.

Asylum Claims in Europe Graphic

    UNHCR Graphic

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than 650,000 migrants and refugees have been detected crossing EU borders so far this year, with over 500,000 seeking asylum (BBC News). Tensions in Europe are high because certain countries have taken on a much greater burden than others, and there is disagreement over how to solve this problem.

The journey to get to Europe is extremely dangerous, but migrants and refugees are willing to take the risk to flee the violence and human rights abuses in their countries. According to the UN Refugee Agency, over 3,000 people have died so far this year trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea. There have been multiple tragedies in 2015 involving shipwrecks and drownings.

Given that the UN predicts one million migrants will reach Europe by the end of 2016 (EuroNews), this human rights crisis needs to be thoroughly addressed immediately. Keeping in mind Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, these refugees must be granted asylum. They have fled their homes and all they have ever known, and should be welcomed with care and concern. The European Union countries need to work harmoniously to remedy this devastating situation in the short term, but also come up with a concrete, sustainable long-term plan. In addition, the root cause of this refugee crisis – the ongoing violence and conflict in these war-torn countries – must be addressed and prevented.

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