Integral Human Development – Transforming Our World: the Holy See and the 2030 Agenda:

Yesterday, 18 of May 2017, took place an event in the UN about the view of the Holly See of the Agenda 2030.

The event was introduced and moderated by the Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See in the UN, Archbishop Ivan Jurkoviç. Archbishop Jurkoviç recalled the message of Pope Paul VI to the General Assembly of the United Nations and the will of the Holly see to work together with the objectives of the UN. As Paul VI said “Your Charter goes further, and our message moves ahead with it.”

After the message of Archbishop Jurkoviç, there was a message from the Director General of the United Nations at Geneva. Michael Moeller underlined the timeless message of Pope Francis of “being compassionate”. He mentioned the important role of religion to face nowadays challenges, especially those of the Agenda for Sustainable Development 2030. He referred the convergence of aims of the UN with the Catholic Church when it comes to target those most in need. Moeller was glad to see that Pope Francis saw the Agenda for Sustainable Development 2030 as a sign of hope in a world of fragmentation and he stressed that this process involves the Catholic Church at all stages. Finally Moeller remarked the harmony between the Pope Encyclical Letter Laudatio Si’.

The third speaker was Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of the UNCTAD. He emphasized that the 2030 Agenda reinforce the mission and work on the UNCTAD, especially when it mentions the importance of inclusion. New challenges have appeared the last years – Migrants, Climate Change…- and new solutions need to be found. On this regard, Kituyi mentioned the importance of public-private partnerships in multiple fields.

The biggest intervention was done by the keynote speaker Cardinal Turkson, Prefect of the Holy See Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. For Cardinal Turkson sustainable development is the best way to realize inclusive prosperity. In line with what Pope Francis has said during his intervention at the General Assembly of the UN he urged to put an end to the world poverty. This challenge is especially important considering that the widen gap between the first world and the third world. The conditions of the poorest have further deteriorated. Part of the problem as he said is the individualistic ideology of economy that is anchored on the selfishness of the human being.

These problems require a comprehensive solution, as the 17 goals and 169 targets of the 2030 agenda. The Holy See welcomes this approach and is happy to observe that this agenda is fully consistent with the recognition that all human beings have a common dignity. This idea of common dignity facilitates the comprehension of the common good, which is not an abstract collective thing, but a conception of good conceived for the needs of each individual, as well as their communities and groups. Although human beings are autonomous, we cannot forget two essential features: its dignity and that they are created for coexistence.  With the 2030 Agenda the International Community has considered this comprehensive dimension of the human being, and has decided to ground this document with solidarity instead of egoism.

On this comprehensive vision of the 2030 Agenda the role of religion cannot be neglected. This is way Cardinal Turkson stressed the important role of freedom of religion shaping the way we interact with our neighbors. Moreover, interreligious dialogue plays an essential role on this regard, and it must be a priority for the succees of the 2030 Agenda. Although, it is not only the lack of finance that is causing our problems, but the lack of peace and dialogue. Pope Francis has stressed this point multiple times.

Finally Cardinal Turkson, mentioned that in order to achieve this change of paradigm, to move beyond egoism to solidarity and to stop our indifference to the marginalized the Holly See has done some organizational changes. Pope Francis has merged four existing Pontifical Councils (Cor Unum, Justice & Peace, Migrants & Itinerant People and Health Care Workers), into the new Dicastery for Promoting integral Human Development, which is called to promote the integral development of each and all persons in the light of the Gospel.

After the intervention of Cardinal Turkson there was the response of the Panellists. Among them, Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General of the International Federation of RED Cross, who underlined the role of peace as a cornerstone for the SDGs and stressed the importance of public –private partnerships to achieve the targets of the 2030 Agenda. Also it was interesting to hear Pasquale Lupoli, Senior Regional Adviser for the Europe and Central Asia International Organisation for Migration, who urged about not neglecting the important role of the SDG for migrants problems, a group that haven’t stopped growing in the last 30 years.

Ignasi Grau

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

93th Council of the OIEC:

Last week OIDEL participated in the OIEC Council in Beirut. OIEC – Catholic International Education Office. OIEC is the entity that represents Catholic Education around the world, around the 70% of non-governmental schools are catholic.

The Council of the OIEC was from Thursday 27th until Saturday 29th April. Many issues were discussed but we would like to highlight the presentation of the new OIEC representation around the International Organizations.

Additionally, OIDEL made a presentation on “Education 2030: The role of civil society”. The presentation was an occasion to present the new challenges of the international community and to show the role of Catholic Education in the implementation of the new agenda. Moreover, OIDEL took the opportunity to show how Catholic Education can improve the realization of the right to education in other UN mechanisms.

Among the events OIDEL take part we can highlight the participation of two other events. One was an audience with the President of Lebanon Michel Aoun, in the Baabda Palace. The other one was the participation on a conference on the importance of the TIC for the realization of the right to education. Conference organized by the Lebanese Catholic Education and the Ministry of Education of Lebanon.

The whole trip was a wonderful experience and we look forward that OIDEL can play an important role in this new phase of the OIEC, and we also look forward to contribute with all the regions and countries that are part of it.

 

Ignasi Grau

18th Session of the Working Group on the Right to Development

This weekly session of the Working Group (WG) was organized as a place to discuss about criteria and sub-criteria written in the draft of the Declaration on the Right to Development (RTD) and find a common language to agree upon. OIDEL has participate on this Working Group as part of the CINGO.

This WG has been working on the RTD for years, discussing on the principles and identifying the necessity of indicators and criteria. They represent an innovation, a new vision of human rights in which individual and collective rights are interrelated in the process of guaranteeing an equal and fair development for all.

The invited experts presented, from different perspectives, the reasons of the importance of this document and the need of a comprehensive development of standards and indicators. Some of them stressed also the importance of a link with the language of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to gain consensus and they discussed on the issue of the nature of the document, whether it should be legally binding or not.

During the discussion, it was addressed the issue of consensus and the need of a joint, equilibrated action, recalling also Goal 17 of the SDGs, but the difficulties were numerous, starting with the US declaration of no further engagement in the discussion and the polarization between developing and developed countries.

Some of the States present, as the one represented by the European Union, expressed disagreement on the necessity to adopt a legally binding document. Furthermore, the EU reminded the numerous reserves they have on the language of the criteria and sub-criteria.

Following this statement, some States as Egypt, Venezuela, Iran, Equator, together with NAM and CINGO[1], reminded the WG that the document shall be finished between this and the 19th session and there has been sufficient time to come up with comments and modifications to discuss instead of just taking a disagreeing position.

From this moment on, the WG found itself at an impasse, the EU and Japan were asking for more time to consult on the documents, more than the one already given by the numerous recesses. The other States, supported by NAM and CINGO, were appealing the States to engage in a constructive dialogue to use at best the time given. Neither formal nor informal meetings helped the States to move from this strong polarization. Nothing broke the division created during these sessions, not even the sensible words of the Chairperson Ambassador Zamir Akram or the appeal of CINGO to remember that the WG exist to ameliorate the life of people and not to take political positions.

During this last day, NAM held a private meeting after which presented a document with recommendations and conclusions discussed during an informal. In this occasion too, the States couldn’t agree on the issue of the legally binding document nor on the respect of the deadline for the drafting of this Document on the RTD.

 

Beatrice Bilotti

[1] Group of organizations consulting and presenting a united front in the WG in which OIDEL is an active participant.

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

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