2017, USA and the Human Rights Council

IMG_6498In the context of the 35th session of the Human Rights Council, the Graduate Institute, together with the United States Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, organized last Tuesday, 6 of June, an event in which Ms. Nikki Haley, the U.S Ambassador to the UN, talked about her country’s position regarding human rights. Early that morning, she had already addressed said Council and stressed the importance of supporting the participation of civil society and of adopting a resolution on Venezuela.

Despite its title, the lecture revolved around two main points: the negative aspects of the Human Rights Council’s functioning and the ways in which these aspects should be improved, leaving little time for discussing about the US.

According to Ms. Haley, the Council is following the path of its predecessor, the Human Rights Commision. The latter lost the world’s trust due to its failure to act whenever human rights were being violated, and was therefore replaced. Currently, the Council’s lack of intervention in the greatest violations of our time undermines its credibility, reinforcing the suspicion that it is not a good investment of time and money. To prove her point, the Ambassador mentioned the cases of Syria, North Korea, Venezuela, China and Zimbabwe, among others. She justified her special concern with the Venezuelan situation by explaining that every major conflict first starts with singular human rights’ violations, and then escalates wildly.

Through these examples, Ms. Haley showcased how the Council puts political interests ahead of its duty of being the world’s advocate on human rights. Consequently, she mentioned three minimum changes that she deems necessary. First of all, violators should not be able to hold seats in the Council – and she cited the case of Cuba, who states that its belonging to the Council proves its respect to human rights. – Therefore, she calls for a change in the selection and reelection of members. Secondly, item 7 of the Council’s Agenda should be removed, since having a particular provision for Israel does not place countries on equal footing. Finally, (and this is something the Ambassador stressed through the whole lecture) abuses must always be called out, and violators must always be condemned.

Before the end there was a time for questions, which the public seized for bringing up some of the US’ most controversial issues, such as its actions during the Cold War, its current relationship with Saudi Arabia or its refusal to accept refugees. Struggling to remain firm, and sometimes beating around the bush, Ms. Haley stated that the US is trying to lead and therefore needs to deal with all countries, even if they are violators of human rights, although this does not mean that they should not be publicly condemned. She also affirmed that the US is strong on human rights, and that that is shown though its budget. Moreover, she proclaimed that the Council must change and that, if this is not the case, the US will pursue the protection of human rights outside of it.
Perhaps this was the most remarkable statement since, when facing the question of wether or not the US will withdraw from the Council –and being forced to commit and say yes or no – the Ambassador said she would not commit: “We have to wait and see”.

Eugenia de Lacalle

Agenda 2030: the role of Human Rights Education

The seminar How can Human Rights Education and Training be promoted through the Education 2030 Agenda, especially Target 4.7? is organized by the NGO Working Group on Human Rights Education on Tuesday the 30th of May at the Palais des Nations (Room XXV, 14h30 -16h30).

This meeting was planned with the co-sponsorship of the States Platform on Human Rights Education and Training (Brazil, Costa Rica, Italy, Morocco, The Philippines, Senegal, Slovenia and Thailand) and the UNESCO Liaison Office in Geneva.

It will focus on Human Rights Education and Global Citizenship Education as established in target 4.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The organisers  believed useful to bring together various initiatives to update all stakeholders, including the Member States. It will be an occasion to discuss monitoring mechanisms and practices, together with difficulties and obstacles.
OPENING REMARKS:
H.E. Mr MAURIZIO ENRICO SERRA, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Italy

Mr ABDULAZIZ ALMUZAINI, Director, UNESCO Geneva Liaison Office

PANELISTS
LYDIA RUPRECHT, Team Leader, Education for Sustainable Development & Global Citizenship, UNESCO

GILBERTO DUARTE SANTOS, Crime Prevention & Criminal Justice Officer, Education for Justice, UNODC

ELENA IPPOLITI, Human Rights Officer, Methodology Education & Training  Section, OHCHR

VILLANO QIRIAZI, Head of the Education Policy Division,Council of Europe (tbc)

GIORGIA MAGNI, Junior Researcher, International Bureau of Education, IBE-UNESCO

MODERATOR
CLAIRE DE LAVERNETTE, Chair of the NGO Working Group on Human Rights Education and Learning

 

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

Human Rights Council: Third Phase of World Program of Human Rights Education

We would like, first of all, to thank the Member States, and particularly the Platform for Human Rights Education and Training[2], for their participation in the high-level panel discussion that took place in September on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training. The World Programme for Human Rights Education is an essential tool for implementing the UN Declaration, by providing a concrete framework for action and by strengthening partnerships and cooperation at all levels.

We are in the Third Phase of the World Programme (2015-2019)[3], which aims to promote social inclusion of marginalised groups; foster interreligious and intercultural dialogue; and combat stereotypes and violence, with a particular emphasis on the role of journalists and other media professionals.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has recently invited all Member States and National Human Rights Institutions to submit information on national implementation of the third phase of the World Programme. We urge all Member States to contribute their national feedback, due on 18 April.

Human rights education is a sustainable approach to dressages the root causes of any human rights violations, concerning all people, and is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Human Rights Education requires the involvement of all relevant actors, including the participation of civil society at all stages of the policy-making processes.

In this spirit, the NGO Working Group on Human Rights Education and Learning is co-organizing an exhibition on Human Rights Education with SGI and HRE2020[4], with thanks to the OHCHR. You are most welcome to visit.

Claire de Lavernette

[1] This statement reflects views of NGOs expressed in the discussions of the NGO Working Group on Human Rights Education and Learning of the NGO Human Rights Committee of Conference of NGOs (CoNGO). http://ngowghrelgva.wordpress.com
INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR THE RIGHT TO EDUCATION AND FREEDOM OF EDUCATION /ASIA-PACIFIC HUMAN RIGHTS INFORMATION CENTER (HURIGHTS OSAKA)/ASSOCIATION POINTS-COEUR/ASSOCIAZIONE COMUNITA PAPA GIOVANNI XXIII/COMPANY OF THE DAUGHTERS OF CHARITY OF ST VINCENT DE PAUL/Equitas – International Centre for Human Rights Education/FOUNDATION FOR GAIA/GLOBAL ECO-VILLAGE NETWORK (GEN)/GRADUATE WOMEN INTERNATIONAL (GWI)/INSTITUTE FOR DEVELOPMENT AND HUMAN RIGHTS (IDDH)/INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM (IARF)/INTERNATIONAL CATHOLIC CHILD BUREAU (ICCB/BICE)/INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF WOMEN (ICW)/INTERNATIONAL MOVEMENT AGAINST ALL FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION AND RACISM (IMADR)/INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION (EAFORD)/INTERNATIONAL VOLUNTEERISM ASSOCIATION FOR WOMEN EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT (VIDES)/ISTITUTO INTERNAZIONALE MARIA AUSILIATRICE DELLE SALESIANE DE DON BOSCO (IIMA)/KENNEDY CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDIES/LAZARUS UNION/ONG HOPE INTERNATIONAL/PLANETARY ASSOCIATION FOR CLEAN ENERGY (PACE)/SOKA GAKKAI INTERNATIONAL (SGI)/SOROPTIMIST INTERNATIONAL/SOVEREIGN MILITARY ORDER OF THE TEMPLE OF JERUSALEM (OSMTH)/TERESIAN ASSOCIATION
[2] Brazil, Costa Rica, Italy, Morocco, the Philippines, Senegal, Slovenia, Switzerland and Thailand
[3] A/HRC/27/28 (4 August 2014), “Plan of Action for the third phase (2015–2019) of the World Programme for Human Rights Education”.
[4] Global Coalition for Human Rights Education, www.hre2020.org

 

 

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

 

 

Visita de los alumnos de Bell-lloc del Pla

Ayer por segundo año consecutivo organizamos una visita a un grupo de alumnos del Bachillerato Internacional del colegio Bell-lloc del Pla (Girona) al Palacio de Naciones Unidas y a la Ginebra de los Derechos Humanos. Los alumnos realizaron una visita a las diferentes estancias del Palacio de Naciones Unidas y pudieron seguir la reunión del Comité Consultivo del Consejo de Derechos Humanos de Naciones Unidas. Tras esta reunión los alumnos tuvieron la ocasión de participar en una sesión de preguntas y respuestas con Ignasi Grau (representante de OIDEL en Naciones Unidas y exalumno de Bell-lloc).

Por la tarde Alfred Fernández (Director General de OIDEL) realizó una sesión de trabajo sobre las condiciones y la importancia del diálogo. La sesión se basó en unos textos de Max Scheler y en los problemas actuales de Naciones Unidas. Tras la sesión los alumnos, aprovechando el buen tiempo, dieron una vuelta por los alrededores de Ginebra pasando por edificios emblemáticos como el Palais Wilson o la OMC. En palabras de los estudiantes, esta salida cultural sirvió para que los alumnos pudieran darse cuenta del impacto de las Naciones Unidas en el día a día de muchos ciudadanos.

 

Aprendiendo a ser cívicos

La paradoja del mundo en que vivimos es que estamos en un mundo cada vez más heterogéneo, pero cada vez más conectado. Ya nadie se extraña que dentro de un aula haya apellidos de distinta procedencia, distintos orígenes religiosos o distintas razas. Igualmente, la globalización es nuestro pan de cada día, compramos productos de todas partes del mundo, nos solidarizamos con causas del otro extremo del mundo y hacemos nuestras vacaciones en los sitios más exóticos. Nada que no hayamos oído antes. Esta situación supone la exposición a gran escala a otras formas de ver el mundo, provocando una reflexión a gran escala sobre nuestras creencias y valores.

Como ya sabemos estos cambios no están exentos de tensiones. El gran desafío es aprender a vivir juntos en una sociedad cada vez más diversa. Consciente del desafío la comunidad internacional proclamó a través de resolución de la Asamblea de las Naciones Unidas un Decenio Internacional de Acercamiento de Culturas con el objetivo de reforzar el diálogo intercultural e interreligioso y la promoción del entendimiento y la cooperación al servicio de la paz.

Una educación completa y de calidad no puede obviar esta problemática. El artículo 26.2 de la Declaración de Derechos Humanos advierte que “la educación (…) favorecerá la comprensión, la tolerancia y la amistad entre todas las naciones y todos los grupos étnicos o religiosos,(…)”.  Juegan un papel esencial en este sentido la educación en derechos humanos y la educación a la ciudadanía.

Querríamos recomendar desde OIDEL el manual Aprendiendo a ser cívicos realizado por el Parlamento de Navarra y la Universidad de Navarra. Este pequeño manual es una buena herramienta para educar en virtudes sociales. Las virtudes sociales son aquellas que aseguran el bien común: la cordialidad, la generosidad, la gratitud, la justicia, la participación, el respeto, la responsabilidad y la solidaridad. Este manual está pensado para aquellos que les preocupa y les ocupa la educación de los ciudadanos del futuro, incluyendo tanto padre como profesores. El libro se puede descargar de internet. Se ha creado una plataforma para acompañar a la formación de los docentes con videos.

El libro advierte “aprender a ser un buen  ciudadano es una tarea de toda la vida y un saber práctico que implica no solo la inteligencia para conocer cuáles son les rasgos que mejoran nuestra vida en sociedad, sino también la voluntad para ponerlos en práctica”.

Para saber más http://www.unav.edu/web/parlamento-civico

Ignasi Grau