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

“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

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

 

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