Trans-humanism and Cyber-culture

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A public side event was held on Wednesday June 14, 2017 at the Palais des Nations focusing on Trans-humanism and Cyber-culture, the objective of this event presented by Osman El Hajjé, followed by Juan Garcia, Alfred Fernandez and Alfred de Zayas was to reflect on the relationship between human rights and science and technology. This is of crucial importance when developments in biology, nanotechnology and computers in particular pose fundamental human rights challenges. It is a matter of looking at science in the light of human rights and of placing respect and protection of rights, especially economic, social and cultural rights – especially cultural rights – at the center of sustainable human development.

The Trans-humanism definition, explained deeply by Alfred Fernandez, is a movement to slow aging in the capacity physic. Singularity is the moment when in the years of 2040 to 2080 that technologies will take over the humans. Big companies such as Google, Twitter, and Facebook are investing billions of dollars wanting technologies to regulate global warming and not humans, but it will take over humans eventually.

The topic’s event was chosen due to the fact that there is a huge gap between developing countries and developed countries explained Juan Garcia. Everyday, more and more futuristic robots and technologies are being created in every domain almost starting a technological revolution. More precisely is focus on two domains, which are the organic domain of the human beings; either to make it better or to recreate it. Secondly, the information ad communication technic is creating virtual spaces. Trans-humanism by definition is the social and scholarly advancement development that attests the craving to on a very basic level enhance the human body and its present condition. This is done through procedure of innovation development to upgrade physical and mental limits.

In general, when technologies evolves it only evolves with the communication, however many types of technologies are evolving and creating robots in every domains, as stated earlier. The distinguishing of technology that affects human and science to recreate can already be made.

To conclude, we have seen that everyday the world is advancing as well with its technologies and on how technology is placed in every department with each a very specific ask to follow, now the question to be thought of is, Can trans-humanism and cyber-culture develop it self to a point where we will live in harmony with machines? Or is the development of trans-humanism going too far where robots will control us?

 

Eloise Christophi

REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS Edmund Rice International, May the 4th, Room XXVI

The side event organized by “Edmund Rice International” outlined the situation of the UK policies in the same day in which the UK underwent the UPR (Universal Periodic Review) at the UN.

EPI’s representatives focused on the conditions of refugees in the UK, starting from the consideration of the programs the government has put in action.

The panelists shown that, with regard to the other European countries, the UK receives only the 5% of the total flow of immigrants, number that will easily allow the improvements needed. Nonetheless, wealthy UK finds itself behind poorer countries in the ranking of European States providing quality support to the refugees. In addition, in 2016, 70% of the requests for asylum were refused, either for the absence of a document recognized or the condition of statelessness.

The accepted refugees, according to the regulations, are granted 28 days of accommodation by the government, after which they are left with no house, no employment aid and no support.

From this analysis, ERI recognized a number of charitable safety nets present in England that help refugees through these hard times. Even so, they found that the majority of asylum seekers are marginalized, constantly on the move, living in a limbo with no security or hope for the future.

In April 2017, the British Red Cross published “Can’t stay, Can’t go”, a Report on the condition of asylum seekers in the UK, highlighting how this condition of uncertainty, lack of legal representation and knowledge of the language, is the cause of enormous distress.

The other Report issued by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), “Refugees Welcome?”, focused on the absence of real projects and solutions to address the emergency of refugees. In the document, APPG suggests integrative strategies, English language teaching and to prolong to 50 days the governmental accommodation.

These Reports are in line with the intervention made by the EPI and other member States during the UK session at the UPR. They found though that the answers of the Ministry of Justice to the questions do not mirror the actual situation in the UK.

During the UPR pressure was made to ameliorate the conditions of asylum seekers and their transitions into society; at the same time, the panelists stressed, no attention was given to other very serious issues linked: food poverty and homelessness.

The representative of the “Trussel Trust”, for the elimination of food poverty in the UK, reminded that no data nor attention has been given by the government to address the issue of food poverty. Generally caused by benefit changes and delays, this condition could be easily avoided by governmental interventions and programs.

Homelessness in Northern Ireland is another issue very sensitive and not addressed in the UPR nor by the government. “Welcome” organization’s data show grave marginalization of the problem of a small region with a troubled historical background where the condition of homelessness touches 18,628 persons, 52% of which are single male adults.

In conclusion, the welfare reforms and safety net claimed by the Ministry of Justice at the UPR session, according to the representative of Welcome, cannot be found on the ground. Furthermore, the panelists find necessary for the government to recognize organizations as more than safety net and to implement its project in order to reach the standards set in the international documents that the UK signed.

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Beatrice Bilotti

Challenges and opportunities to reinforce children’s rights through the implementation, follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda

Annual full-day meeting on the rights of the child, 18th session of the HRC, March the 6th

The reinforcement of the 2030 SDGs Agenda provides a system of follow up and accountability checks, even though there are still some difficulties between the States and not everyone has submitted the national plan for the implementation. According to Mr. Rodolfo Succar, Defensoría de Niñas, Niños y Adolescentes de la Provincia de Santa Fe- Argentina, change is still possible because it depends on the application of laws. Public policies for children, monitoring of the mass media as opinion makers and monitoring of the juvinile criminal system can be a social investment made to be by States to keep the situation under control, gather data and plan the interventions. The gathering of data is, in fact, necessary to analyse the context and the individuals’ history, to create a matrix for the prevention and monitoring of future situations. It has to be kept in mind that not always the answer is the one anticipated but the system allows ridefinition and filling in the gaps.

In any case, the participation of the children is considered fundamental for the good realization of the SDGs, from the enjoyment of rights to the consideration of the child as an actor of the change as suggested in the 2030 Agenda. This tool is considered by Dr. Flavia Bustreo, Assistant Director-General for Family, Women’s and Children’s Health, World Health Organization and Ms. Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children, as a path for prevention and protection from violence against children. The 2030 Agenda is considered by the panelists as a roadmap for the creation of an historical breakthrough in the protection of children. What is necessary is a strong leadership able to promote sustainable development in every situation and in each country, through the promotion of participation. A strong accountability is the basis for the measurement of the national reviews and implementation, together with data gathering that is still lacking in this area.

Furthermore, the participation of children as agents of the change is one of the funding principle of the Agenda. Informing, forming and mobilizing citizens, in Ms. Marie-Chantal Coulibaly, Citizen Voice and Action Coordinator, World Vision Mali, is in fact the final purpose and tool of the 2030 Agenda. If the citizens are not informed of the rights they detain or the instruments they can appeal to there will be no empowerment and no dialogue.

The interventions of all the single States and NGOs suggest a general commitment to the SDGs with some questions on the good practice raised by some countries. The issue of the implementation of the SDGs in developed countries or areas afflicted by conflict was raised by different representatives and the help of the developed countries was asked, in terms of sponsoring rights and donations to sustain the programs in action. Some States furthered the question of the most untouched issues as child pornography or poverty, child marriages and abuses, conflicts, health access, malnutrition, both in developing and in developed countries. With the support of NGOs, the general attitude is towards the embracement of the 2030 Agenda and promotion of effective ameliorations.

The panelists suggest the commitment of the States in raising verifiable and comparable data to allow the organizations to create ad hoc projects. Furthermore, the investment of the government in the key areas of education and empowerment is stressed and, most of all, the necessity to build a dialogue between the children and the governments. A safe environment in which children can learn, discuss, dialogue, grow and rethink the projects addressing the issues most concerning as poverty, education, bulling, family and the spaces in the city. The best interest of the child and their integral growth should be always the compass regulating the actions of the States.

A strong legal framework is certainly necessary but it is not sufficient, there must be monitoring mechanisms that continuously investigate new paths and fill in the gaps.

In conclusion, cooperation is certainly necessary, political will and action are at the core of the improvements, together with the coordination between national and international instruments. The definition of clear language, data gathering and mobilization of the civil society are fundamental. From the 44 Reports expected from the States no direct reference was made to children. This is symptomatic, according to Ms. Santos Pais, of a reality not focused on the children’s rights nor interested in their opinion. The situation must change, efforts need to be made not only in the creation of a strong and effective legal system, with monitoring mechanisms and verifiable activities, but also in the practical application of the 2030 Agenda.

Beatrice Bilotti

 

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18th meeting
Annual full-day meeting on the rights of the child

Challenges and opportunities to reinforce children’s rights through the implementation, follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda

  Chair: H.E. Mr. Amr Ramadan, Vice-President of the Human Rights Council

Moderator: H.E. Mr. Peter Sørensen, Head of the European Union Delegation to the United Nations in Geneva

  Panellists:

•          Mr. Rodolfo Succar, Defensoría de Niñas, Niños y Adolescentes de la Provincia de Santa Fe, Argentina

•          Dr. Flavia Bustreo, Assistant Director-General for Family, Women’s and Children’s Health, World Health Organization

•          Ms. Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children

•          Ms. Marie-Chantal Coulibaly, Citizen Voice and Action Coordinator, World Vision Mali

A/HRC/34/RES/7/29, A/HRC/34/RES/31/7, A/HRC/34/NI/9, A/HRC/34/NGO/8, A/HRC/34/NGO/39, A/HRC/34/NGO/113, A/HRC/34/NGO/160

How human resources services can empower jobseekers with disabilities – Side event March the 17 th , Permanent Mission of Austria

People with disabilities represent a significant group in our society and a big potential not fully realized. As reminded by H.E. Thomas Hajnoczi, Permanent representative of Austria to the UN in Geneva, there are all types of barriers hindering the full enjoyment of a normal life, may them be physical, economical, social, or obstacles to health services, access to education, employment full time. The reasons of this marginalization may be different, from the weak voice people with disabilities have in the political process, to the lack of comparable data on labor market participation that limits the interventions. On the bright side, polices of inclusiveness are developing, Austria and other countries have laws binding companies to employ one person with disability every 25 employees. Most of the time though the companies prefer to pay the sanction instead of complying with the quota.

The testimony of Fernanda Almeida, President of the National Federation of Persons with Autism from Brazil and member of RIADIS, stressed the difficulty for employers to see beyond the appearances. For her, as for Matthieu Chatelin, Cerebral Palsy European Community’s Association and Youth leader of the European Disability Forum, a good CV is not sufficient. There are numerous barriers to overcome, from the initial demonstration that they are capable of doing their job to the adjustment in terms of space. Some employers do not consider how easy it can be to overcome structural barriers because they just focus on what they cannot do.

Education is highlighted by all the panelist as the most important tool to overcome the difficulties, as instrument that can guarantee a future within the society. It is a responsibility of the States to assure accessibility to education, training and employment, but usually it is not guaranteed. The isolated condition in which the State leaves people with disabilities, may it be a direct or indirect result, is an alarm for the civil society organizations that work hard to give fair chances to people with disabilities.

Ms. Virginia Carcedo Illera, CEO and General manager of Incerta empleo, showed the effort and work realized by Incerta during the years of its existence. Working for university and employment accessibility and inserting over 200 thousand people with disabilities in its database. With a system based on ICF skill oriented approach, they connect people to the companies, focusing on the capabilities and compatibility with the firm.

On the same issue, Zero Project, as an international initiative founded by the Austrian ESSL foundation, monitors the application of the CRPD and identifies effective solutions and promotes knowledge exchange. The data resulted from the 2017 research showed, as already presented by the other panelists, that the laws existing are not in use and often there is no data on the condition of labor and education accessibility of people with disabilities. These deficiencies of the States show the marginal role given to the issue and the lack of interest in changing the existing situation.

Lorena-Homar

Lorena Homar, Olympic Swimmer

In conclusion, the panelists stressed the importance of a fair and equal access to education, apprenticeship and employment. To be treated as equally capable of doing a job and equally in need of living the world and relating with people is the most important thing the civil society and the companies, the governments and the employer could do. The relegation doesn’t help neither the person with disabilities nor the State, because it would miss the potentialities of its own citizens.

 

Beatrice Bilotti

Le déchaînement d’une nouvelle société : l’interdépendance des droits de l’homme II

 

Les enjeux liés à la société de l’information doit nous aider à affiner notre réflexion sur le droit à la liberté d’opinion et d’expression. On considère habituellement ce droit comme un droit liberté comme s’il suffisait à l’état de le garantir pour le faire respecter, contrairement aux droits économiques, sociaux et culturels qui seraient des droits prestations. Il est clair depuis longtemps que cette distinction est peu pertinente : le droit à la liberté d’expression ne se réduit pas à la non-censure de la part des autorités; la liberté de presse, par exemple, a toujours exigé de la part des états une action positive, généralement sous forme de subventions.

 

Aujourd’hui face aux nouvelles technologies il est devenu évident que la mise en œuvre de la liberté d’expression réclame un effort de l’Etat pour la mise en place d’infrastructure qui permette la connexion aux réseaux mondiaux de communication. Il convient de rappeler qu’il existe de nombreux  pays dans lesquelles de grandes étendues sont totalement dépourvues d’électricité.  Dans ce nouveau contexte, la distinction entre droits liberté et droits prestation semble définitivement périmée.

 

Il est évident qu’un développement équitable des technologies de l’information et de la communication est absolument indispensable non seulement à la promotion, mais aussi au respect des droits de l’homme. De nos jours, il est juste de considérer qu’un peuple qui n’a pas accès à ces technologies est lésé dans son droit d’opinion et d’expression, tant sa capacité de s’informer et de s’exprimer est réduite par rapport aux autres. La société de l’information qui nous amène de nouveaux outils pour lutter en faveur des droits de l’homme peut devenir paradoxalement aussi une source d’inégalité en creusant le fossé qui sépare les plus riches des plus pauvres.

 

Alfred Fernandez

Le mobile à l’école : le déchaînement d’une nouvelle société (I)

Contrôler l’utilisation des téléphones dans le milieu scolaire semble un problème majeur dans la rentrée scolaire. Ce détail qui peut paraître anecdotique montre la montée en puissance de la société de l’information.

Nous sommes donc en train d’assister à un changement de valeur sans précédent dans l’histoire de l’humanité, puisque les valeurs matérielles semblent céder définitivement le pas à des valeurs de types intellectuelles : le savoir-faire, les compétences professionnelles, l’approfondissement de sa culture propre, qui tous trois présupposent l’accès à l’information,  sont désormais un plus grand signe de richesse que les ressources industrielles ou agricoles. Ainsi le droit à la liberté d’opinion et d’expression et le droit à l’éducation se retrouvent-ils au cœur de cette nouvelle société.

Parmi les progrès dans le domaine des droits de l’homme que les technologies de l’information et de la communication sont susceptibles d’apporter au monde, on peut citer les suivants :

– les technologies de l’information et de la communication rendent nécessaire l’émergence d’un nouveau droit : le droit à l’information et à sa libre circulation.

– ces technologies nous ouvrent à la richesse des autres. Elles rendent possible la connaissance de leur culture et de leur langue et facilite le dialogue entre les cultures et la lutte contre la discrimination.

– la société de l’information élargit les horizons du droit d’opinion et d’expression. Elle permet une meilleure défense des droits de l’homme par la diffusion via Internet des textes, visant à les promouvoir ou à dénoncer les abus à leur encontre.

– enfin, en ce qui concerne le droit à l’éducation, les nouvelles technologies  soulèvent d’immenses espoirs. En particulier, par la mise à disposition sur le Web des bases de données spécialisées et des encyclopédies et par les MOOCS elles fournissent des informations nécessaires pour des enseignements ou des recherches de qualité.

Alfred Fernandez

Human Rights and Corruption

One year after the Revolution of 2011, a side event was organized and planned to discuss the finding of the high commissions report. This event aimed to compliment and strengthen the existing mechanisms in order to prevent and counter corruption.

Since then, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was created, in which one of its agreements was to significantly reduce illicit financial flaws in an aim to combat corruption; a fundamental factor needed to achieve all goals of the agenda. The Human Rights Council has been paying increasing attention to combatting corruption, and after conducting several investigations, has found that “treaty bodies mismanagement are a resource of corruption. Approximately 2% of GDP is bribed in both developed and underdeveloped countries.” B.E. Ayush claimed. “It is estimated that developed countries lose about one trillion dollars annually”.

Reducing bribery in corruption, not only increases equality, but also opportunity. “This must have a human rights based approach, where we integrate human rights principles, and corruption is viewed as a human rights issue, not just a crime”, K. Pabel stated. For this very reason, the advisory committee prepared a report that was presented to the council. Its key elements were based upon the common view that there is a strong correlation between corruption, and the enjoyment of basic human rights: studies conducted demonstrated this through many statements from national institutions and stakeholders.

It has been identified that corruption within a country can not only affect individuals and groups of individuals, but it also has a negative impact on society at large, whether that is at a national, or international level, “people’s confidence in their governments and democratic order is undermined”. The first individuals or groups of individuals who suffer from the impact of corruption are generally person with disabilities, women, and children: for this reason, the report calls for the protection of human rights of those groups in every state in order to prevent the violation of their human rights.

Marianna Barbieri

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