Education, Family and Migration

Nowadays, migration is mainly thought of in individualistic terms, as an experience that affects isolated individuals. In reality, one of the most dramatic spheres of migration is the family dimension, as mentioned by the Archbishop I. Jurkovič, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN, during the event «Family and Migration» in occasion of the 39th Session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Migrants are fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, nephews, fiancés and much more; nevertheless the central position of families within the debates about migration is often overshadowed. Family policies and migration policies are too often kept separated, even though these two realities are deeply intertwined. Giving this connection the space it deserves means defending migrants’ right to family life and family unity, which is one of the best ways to ensure the respect of their dignity as human beings whose life is enriched with personal relationships.

The current refugee crisis is multi-layered and presents several difficulties, however it is specifically in connection with one of its challenges that education comes into play and can help in the achievement of long lasting results.

As Maria Mercedes Rossi, representative of APG23, pointed out during her intervention, politicians and other public figures often promote a distortive narrative on migrants, endorsing a misleading image that needs to be opposed by all means. Sure enough, educating the population and most of all young generations to the values of tolerance and inclusion is a fundamental step to achieve the harmonious integration of migrant families within their hosting communities. As it was mentioned during the conference, a toxic narrative produces false perceptions that can result into harmful attitudes such as racism, xenophobia and discrimination. It is therefore fundamental to educate children and young people to the meaning of diversity, making them understand the value of a heterogeneous society. The school system has a demanding but worthwhile duty, i.e. to give the right inputs to students, in order to encourage positive perceptions and attitudes.

Many of the speakers mentioned Pope Francis’ four leading verbs that guided the drafting of the 20 Action Points for the Global Compact on Migrants and Refugees: to Welcome, to Protect, to Promote and to Integrate. The last two acquire special relevance when it comes to education. “To Promote” recalls that the main goal of all interventions must be the integral human development of migrants and of their welcoming communities, and education has the power to boost such flourishing. “To Integrate” recollects all the reciprocal processes that involve migrants and hosting communities, fostering dialogue among different cultures. Schools as well as families are the primary actors in such processes of integration.

To conclude, another intervention highlighted the role of education in promoting a culture of respect and acceptance towards migrants. Nowadays, the word «migrant» is merely used with reference to those who arrived recently, in the last few years or maybe months, and who are treated with suspicion and mistrust because of their frequent lack of documents, fixed accommodation or occupation. And yet, some migrants have been living in their hosting communities and serving them for many years, but this is often forgotten.

They are the proof that, with the right assistance and support, everyone can contribute to the flourishing of the society. This is why it is important to defend migrant’s right to family life and family unity, because if properly guided and welcomed in favourable conditions, they can fully integrate into the hosting communities, generating a value that only diversity is able to provide.

 

Cecilia Litta Modignani

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L’Observatoire International sur les Droits Economiques, Sociaux et Culturels ObIDESC

Ce premier rapport sur la situation des droits économiques, sociaux et culturels de 42 pays est une initiative de L’Observatoire International sur les Droits Economiques, Sociaux et Culturels (ObIDESC) créée par le Collège Universitaire Henry Dunant et avec la collaboration de l’OIDEL. Ce rapport a pour objectif de contribuer à l’effectivité des droits économiques sociaux et culturels.

Depuis 2016 la collaboration avec un groupe d’experts a permis de mettre en place cet observatoire qui, pour le moment, se focalise à deux droits: le droit à l’éducation et le droit à la santé.

Nous présentons une brève analyse de chaque pays en trois parties:

1) Législation et politiques, 2) Jurisprudence des Cours constitutionnelles 3) Débats publics.

Une fiche a été créée pour chaque pays autour trois domaines pour les droits à l’éducation et le droit à la santé :

  • les législations et politiques publiques.
  • les décisions de justice de dernier ressort.
  • le suivi des discussions dans le débat public.

Le classement de ce rapport a été fait par regroupement de pays au sein des grandes régions du monde : Les Amériques, soit l’Amérique du Sud et l’Amérique du Nord, l’Europe, l’Asie et l’Afrique.

Nous avons mentionné 140 lois au total dans les domaines de l’éducation et de la santé, ces lois ont été organisées en trois catégories selon leur contenu. Ce classement rend compte d’une protection globale, ciblée ou d’une protection qui s’accompagne d’un changement de la Constitution d’un Etat.

  • La première catégorie comprend les législations qualifiées de générales, c’est-à-dire une loi qui pose une protection générale du droit à l’éducation ou du droit à la santé. (Exemple : la loi du 20 mai 2016 relative à la santé de la reproduction humaine).
  • La deuxième catégorie comprend la législation qualifiée de spéciale, c’est à dire une loi qui traite des aspects spécifiques de la protection. (Exemple : loi portant sur le régime de biosécurité en Côte-d’Ivoire).
  • Enfin, la troisième catégorie englobe les lois qui modifient la Constitution d’un Etat.

Les résultats d’analyses sur l’éducation concernent 60 législations au total, dont la majorité sont des lois qualifiées de spéciales, ce qui veut dire que les pays ont tendance à légiférer sur des aspects spéciaux des droits à l’éducation. Seules 4 lois générales et 2 constitutionnelles ont été trouvées et analysées.

Seulement un tiers des pays étudiés n’ont en 2016 pas des nouvelles de législations dans le domaine de l’éducation, ce qui représente 14 pays sur 42 pays.

Concernant les politiques publiques de l’éducation, 29 politiques publiques et plans nationaux ont été trouvés, dont 9 généraux et 20 spéciaux.

Les pays ont encore une fois eu tendance à agir de manière spécifique dans l’ensemble.

28 pays, soit plus de la moitié des pays analysés, n’ont pas élaboré de politiques publiques spécialement dans le domaine de l’éducation en 2016.

Le nombre élevé de politiques publiques est dû aux résultats de la région Afrique qui en comptabilise à elle seule 19 (sur les 29). Les politiques publiques sont les plus nombreuses dans les pays qui n’ont pas ou peu légiférer, comme par exemple la Côte d’Ivoire et la RDC.

Seule exception, la région d’Asie ne comptabilise aucune politique publique/plans nationaux et peu de législation (il convient de noter que seuls trois pays forment cette région).

Concernant la santé, 80 législations ont été trouvés en 2016. Comme pour le domaine de l’éducation, des lois spécifiques prédominent environ 90% soit 70/80: les pays sont donc protégés de manière accrue des aspects spécifiques du droit à la santé.

Un grand nombre de législations se répartit entre les régions d’Amérique du Sud (34 législations), la région d’Afrique (21) et la région Europe (17).

9 Etats sur 42 n’ont pas élaboré de législations dans le domaine de la santé : ces pays se trouvent en majorité tous dans la région Afrique.

La majorité des politiques publiques ont été retrouvées dans la région Afrique soit 18. Plus de la moitié des Etats, soit 26, n’ont pris aucune politique publique en 2016 dans le domaine de la santé.

Les résultats pour la jurisprudence montrent que pour l’éducation, un total de 24 décisions a été compté. En prenant note que 25 pays n’ont pas prise de décisions et que la région d’Amérique latine regroupe environ 65% de toutes les 15 décisions trouvées.

Concernant la jurisprudence pour la santé, un total de 31 décisions ont été comptées. Il n’y a pas eu des décisions concernant l’éducation, à l’exception de 20 pays. Pour les régions d’Amérique du Sud et d’Europe respectivement 16 et 10 décisions que se démarquent de très loin des autres régions qui ont pris au maximum deux décisions dans le domaine de la santé.

Les débats publics n’ont pas été classés entre eux car les problématiques d’un pays ne sont pas strictement identiques à d’autres pays. Cependant, des similarités ont été constatées par région géographique.

Concernant l’éducation, les problèmes liés au système éducatif tel que le manque de financement, le contenu des programmes scolaires, les actions du Gouvernement  et des discussions sur des thèmes spécifiques comme par exemple les chiffres des enfants qui quittent prématurément l’école ont été abordés de façons différentes dans les pays. Les évènements majeurs relevés sont l’organisation de réunions internationales dans plusieurs pays et des forums sur l’éducation au niveau national.

Concernant  la santé, les débats se sont concentrés autour des problèmes liés à la structure du système de santé tels que le prix des médicaments ou l’accès aux soins de santé, des projets de réforme et des questions spécifiques telles que l’encadrement de la consommation d’alcool. Les actions réalisées dans le domaine de la santé ont été portées sur la sensibilisation de la population ou en réaction à des propagations de virus. Dans l’optique de sensibilisation ou de protection de la population, des séminaires, conférence ou ateliers ont été organisés.

 

Eloise Christophi

 

“The Right to International Solidarity: Meeting with the Independent Expert on the revised draft declaration”

Last Thursday, 8 of June, a public side event on the right to international solidarity was held at room IX of the UN Palace. OIDEL co-organize this event with the Associazione Comunità Papa Giovanni XXIII and other NGOs of the CINGO WG on international solidarity. The event was opened and moderated by Jorge Ferreira.

Msgr. Ivan Jurkovic, Nuncio to the United Nations, first introduced solidarity as a broad concept that involves a fact or condition, a principle, a moral value. It is founded on the idea that we are debtors of society and, being ethical in nature, its implication for human life is also ethical. However, despite being all these things, it is currently unrealized, under threat. It gives way to the States’ sovereignty, when in theory both concepts are not opposed, since the principle of solidarity is linked to the principle of subsidiarity.

In this line, Ms. Virginia Dandan, Independent Expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity and author of the draft declaration on the human right to IS, added that, in a time when nationalism and segmentation are arising, IS must come to stop them. Its definition and implementation are explained in the draft, as well as the obligations that it entails. However, Ms. Dandan was clear that IS necessarily means action; it cannot be left behind in plans. And, since IS is already a principie in people’s lives, it is therefore necesary to make sure that it becomes a pinciple in the life of governments as well. You can find the link of the draft declaration here: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Solidarity/ProposedDraftDeclarationSolidarity.pdf

Following on, Mr. Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, the UN Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, stressed the relevance for his mandate of the recognition of such a right. He also spoke about the need of working on a draft declaration on the human right to peace, even though the States deem there are no legal grounds for it.

Finally, it was Ms. Maria Mercedes Rossi, from the Associazione, who intervened. She explained how IS has an individual and a collective dimension. She said the latter corresponds to the African way of thinking: “I am because we are”, while the former corresponds to the Western way, which she finds rather arrogant. She also questioned the States’ allegation according to which the human right to IS has no legal basis and defended the need of making a right out of it in order to make it effective.

Afterwards, during question time, Ms. Dandan, and Ms. Rossi explained the difference between preventive solidarity, which tackles root causes and has a long-time frame, and reactive solidarity, which is deployed ex post (i.e. after a natural disaster, calamity) and has an instant time frame. They declared that preventive solidarity is the one that is needed, using the example of starvation in the world, which has root causes that have to be dealt with.

As a conclusion, Ms. Dandan stated that the road to right’s protection is a long one. International Solidarity is a choice one has to make; poverty is a fight that must be fought every single day. Sympathy will not do; as she said, even dogs can feel.

However, the actual conclusion was made by someone from the public, who requested to speak and quoted Pope Francis: “Nothing in Nature lives for itself. Rivers don’t drink their own water. Trees don’t eat their own fruit. Sun doesn’t give heat for itself. Flowers don’t spread fragrance for themselves. Living for others is the rule of Nature.”

 

Eugenia de Lacalle

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

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

Transforming lives: The power of human rights education

This is the title of a beautiful exhibition on human rights education, which was launched on 6 March and which is taking place until 17 March at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, in parallel to the 34th session of the Human Rights Council. You are all welcome to visit!
The exhibition reiterates the vital role of human rights education and training in the promotion of dignity, equality and peace and in the prevention of human rights violations and abuses. It examines what human rights education is, and its impact on the increasingly challenging world in which we live. It also offers inspiration and hope for individuals to engage and take action.
This exhibition is co-organized by the NGO Working Group on Human Rights Education chaired by OIDEL, together with Soka Gakkai International and HRE 2020, Global Coalition for Human Rights Education.
Claire de Lavernette

 

 

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