On 13 December 2006, the General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol (A/RES/61/106). This first human rights treaty of the 21st century was negotiated with the active and constructive participation of NGOs.
UNAIDS is a Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS in which agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) participate. In December 2010, UNAIDS formulated its UNAIDS strategy for the next few years
Wherever we as members of the Society of the Sacred Heart are present, we are engaged in education of many kinds and at differing levels. From early childhood care and education, to formal education in schools and universities, to vocational training as well as non-formal education for the excluded and marginalized, RSCJ are educators at heart.
The world’s estimated 370 million indigenous people are found in more than 90 countries, according to the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. They regularly face discrimination and are counted among those who are extremely poor, lacking health, education and social services. They are often disproportionally affected by climate change, deforestation and environmental degradation or exploitation.
Turning on the TV or reading the newspaper, we are confronted every day with acts of violence and situations that blatantly violate our neighbor’s inherent dignity and human rights – for example in the DR of Congo, in Libya ... sometimes in our own backyard! These realities have impelled us throughout the Society to create new ways of being peace makers – educators for truth and peace, in the class room and outside of the classroom, in women’s groups and in our educational work with children.
Every second two persons are added to the urban population – today, half of the world’s population of almost 7 billion people lives in cities. This number is expected to grow to 60% by 2030. Urban growth is most rapid in the developing world where cities gain an average of 5 million residents every month.
On December 1, the world will observe World AIDS Day once again. Millennium Development Goal #6 (MDG #6) addresses the fight against HIV/AIDS. While target 6.A calls for a halt to the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015, target 6.B calls for achieving universal access to treatment by 2010. Many efforts have been made to achieve this target 6.B.
On November 16, the United Nations (UN) will once again commemorate the International Day for Tolerance which was created by the General Assembly in 1996.
Disaster hits, like the earthquakes in Haiti or Chile, and people are suddenly forced to flee their homes in order to be safe and secure.
Armed conflict rages through a country and entire communities find themselves on the move to escape the violence.
These are but two classic examples of what causes people to become forcibly uprooted, cut off from their livelihoods and communities, making them utterly vulnerable without access to the most basic necessities of life such as food, water, shelter, education, etc.
María Jiménez Albarrán won the first prize in EXPRÉSATE, “Express yourself: the rights of children and adolescents”, an Art and Audiovisual Media contest organized by the UN, the Foreign Affairs Secretariat of Mexico, and Save the Children. Maria was invited to the Senate of the Republic (of Mexico), where she was given a special recognition and had lunch with the senators. It was very moving for us as parents to see in the screen of the Press room how Maria walked in by herself while all the Senators clapped for her.
On November 16, the UN observes the International Day for Tolerance which aims to promote global understanding and respect. This day of observance was created in 1996 by General Assembly Resolution 51/95, stating the importance of tolerance as the basis of civil and global peace. As our world grows, cultures and ideas spread, and while there is an encouraging mixing of cultures, intolerance still remains all too prevalent. Intolerance can surface in the form of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, religious intolerance, incitement, etc.
At the beginning of September 2008, I was fortunate to be able to take part, with José Basaula, Maria Teresa Devoto, Isabelle Lagneau and Cecile Meijer, in the session which takes place every year in New York for NGO’s accredited to the United Nations. As the building in New York is being renovated, the DPI/NGO Conferences will be held for several years outside the US. The headquarters of UNESCO in Paris was a good choice since we celebrate this year the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed in Paris in 1948.