2016 October

Oct 6, 2016
Category: UN-INT-EN

More interns, progress against Human Trafficking, and more ...


We grieve with our sisters, the Religious of Jesus and Mary, in the loss of one of their Spanish missionaries, Sister Isabelle Sola Matas RJM.  In September she was shot and killed in an apparent robbery attempt, as she was driving a car in Port au Prince, Haiti. She worked at St. Joseph Church, a “fearless servant of God” who helped build houses, worked as a nurse, fed the hungry, and created / directed a program that provided prosthetic limbs for amputee victims of the 2010 Haitian earthquake.  Her loss is deeply mourned by all who knew her, her co-workers, the poor who benefited from her service, and the remaining four Religious of Jesus and Mary in Haiti.  See   http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/09/02/spanish-missionary-who-devoted-life-to-poor-killed-in-haiti.html  for more information.


Meet the interns, Maria Deyanira Garcia Martinez SDS of Colombia, and Noeli Maria Massoni CCV of Brazil (Deya at left, Noeli at right):

Maria Deyanira Garcia MartinezSDS (Sisters  of the Divine Savior) is from Colombia, South America. After high school she studied Education Sciences, with specializations in Catechesis and Educational Management. For her whole religious life she has worked in schools, teaching, pastoral activities and helping in administration. She also organized “Missionary Groups” with 10th and 11th grade girls who wanted to engage in personal formation and to help village people with all kinds of needs, especially celebrating Christmas and Holy Week. She has felt a real call to mission, ministering in Colombia, Ecuador, and Nazareth (Israel). During school vacations in Nazareth she helped some sisters who were working against human trafficking in Amman, Jordan. Since her return from Israel last year, she has been working in Wisconsin USA, for Mission Appeals.  

In her first two weeks with UNANIMA Deya says she has found a warm welcome in the office (and in New York, which has been having a heat wave!) She has enjoyed participating in various meetings and working with other NGOs, especially those dealing with migrants and trafficking. She says the 71st UN General Assembly has opened her mind and eyes to what is happening around the world.

Noeli Maria MassoniCCV (Carmelite Sisters of Charity Vedruna), from Brazil, has been in the USA for one year. Her education was in Administrative Sciences with specializations in Human Rights and Bioethics Resource Management. She worked in public school teaching children and adolescents from poor neighborhoods in Campinas SP. In other diverse activities she led a reception / support center for Adolescent Street Children; participated in CBJP (the Brazilian Commission for Justice and Peace); and also in CIJP, the Intercontinental Commission for Justice and Peace of the Congregation of Carmelite Sisters of Vedruna. Committed to the Basic Ecclesial Communities, she has always been engaged in pastoral social ministry and in movements promoting justice and human dignity, such as the network "A Cry for Life", which operates pastoral settlements. In the USA she worked with a community of Hispanic migrants in Georgetown DE.

In her early days at UNANIMA she says she feels grateful, happy, and excited, and is enjoying it a lot. She values ​​and believes in inter-congregational work and networking, and this experience is providing her with a comprehensive perspective, through meetings in the UN and with other NGOs on Migrants and Refugees, Indigenous Peoples, Forced Labor and Human Trafficking. The experience is also broadening her knowledge base, and strengthening her commitment to the cause of the excluded.


Nadia Murad Basee Taha, a young Yazidi woman, torture victim, and refugee, was appointed the UN Goodwill Ambassador against Human Trafficking (UN Office of Drugs and Crime--UNODC). The link below describes part of the effort of governments at the UN to take action; they have formed a “Group of Friends” against Human Trafficking. http://mfa.gov.by/en/press/news_mfa/f6b5ec478767eb9a.html


Last year, some NGOs in New York started working with the Haiti UPR process .The UPR reviews the country’s progress in human rights. Several of our congregations there gave us grassroots input for the civil society report. The country review is coming up in November 2016, in Geneva. Prior to this event, a pre-session will take place in Geneva October 3rd-7th. Mrs Jocelyne Colas, director of the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace in Haiti and very experienced as an advocate for human rights in her country, will represent all of us. You may be able to watch some of it on the UN Web TV  (look for UN webtv).


The recent fourth ”straw poll” for SG was the first time that the five permanent members of the Security Council could use their veto, and one did veto Natalia Gherman of Moldova (one of the women candidates). Topping the list again was Portugal’s António Guterres (picture). In fifth place is Bulgaria’s Irina Bokova. The rest of the women candidates are 7th, 8th, and 9th, respectively. The next poll was to be 26th September. There is always the question of who could be the Deputy Secretary General, so there probably will be intense bargaining and compromising!


The high-level UN General Assembly this September is focusing on Migrants and Refugees. They are expected to approve an outcome document called “The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants” that expresses the political will of world leaders to save lives, protect rights and share responsibility on a global scale. World leaders spoke of how each country will implement these commitments. Refugees, migrants, those who assist them, and their host countries and communities will all benefit if these commitments are met. The New York Declaration contains bold commitments and concrete plans for how to build on these commitments. They intend to start negotiations leading to an international conference and the adoption of a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration in 2018. View the full text of the New York Declaration.

As called for in the Declaration, the Secretary-General also launched a new campaign called “Together – Respect, Safety and Dignity for All, Highlighting the positive contributions made by refugees and immigrants.” to “respond to rising xenophobia and turn fear into hope”. He urged “world leaders to join this campaign and commit together to upholding the rights and dignity of everyone forced by circumstance to flee their homes in search of a better life.” The campaign will counter some of the misinformation and misperceptions on refugees and migrants and encourage contact between refugees, migrants and those in the destination countries. For more information, please visit https://refugeesmigrants.un.org/together


“Bigots and deceivers may be in this hall this morning!” One of the most powerful speeches at the opening ceremonies was given by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the first Muslim High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Jordan’s former UN Ambassador who has played outstanding roles in international criminal justice, development, and peace-building. He challenged governments to change the way they are treating migrants, saying “this should not be a comfortable summit. It can’t be reduced to speeches…to self-congratulations…before we move on. There is an epidemic of amnesia at the heart of this moral collapse…we have forgotten the two World Wars.” Listen to it at this link: Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein (High Commissioner for Human Rights), Opening of the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants

A speaker from a Syrian volunteer group (SYVNL) represented civil society in saying they are “living on the edge of hell.” Refugees need to be empowered to lead their own projects—“don’t talk about us, talk with us. The bitter truth is that we are largely failing the people of Syria (and other migrants).”


UNANIMA joined the Center for Human Rights of Children and the Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights in supporting an Alternative Report under the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children (OPSC). The final version of the report, which focuses on issues of labor trafficking and forced labor, can be found on the UNANIMA website (www.unanima-international.org ) under the title “NGO Alternative Report on Child Labor Trafficking in the US.”

This document will be presented before a closed session of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva on October 4. Representatives from the Center for the Human Rights of Children will present the report and respond to questions from the Committee. (This is an opportunity for the UN Committee members to learn more from NGOs about how effectively the US government has implemented the OPSC).The Committee will then meet with the US government delegation in 2017 once more before it issues its concluding recommendations. As this last session with the US government is public, we will let you know when that is scheduled, as well as share any concluding recommendations published by the Committee


The UNANIMA Board, which consists of one member from each of our 21 congregations, meets twice a year. Here they are at the September 22-24 meeting: (Back row left to right): Suzette Clark, RSC, Kathleen Butler CSB, Nonata de Aguiar Bezerra SND, Sylvia Obrigewitsch NDS, Judy Curley SASV, Fran Gorsuch CBS, Margaret Fyfe CSB, Josee Therrien RJM, Maureen Foltz CCV. (Middle row, left to right): Stacy Hanrahan CND, Susan Seeby CSA –substituting for Sally Ann Brickner

OSF)--, Karol Brewer for MSCs, Mary Akinwale SHCJ, Margaret Scott ACI, Mary Kaye Nealen SP, Ellen Sinclair SDS, Barbara Jean Head OSU, Mary Jean Audette SUSC. (Front row, left to right): Barbara Spears SNJM, Michele Morek OSU, Jean Quinn DW, Lucille Goulet SSA, Anne McCabe SM.

Outgoing members of the board are Kathleen CSB, Sylvia NDS, Michele OSU, and—not pictured—Shauna Bankemper SND, Kathleen Scanlon RJM, and Dianna Ortiz OSU.

UNANIMA thanks these dedicated board members for their service, and welcomes the new representatives!


Why is this picture here?  Because the Editor loves it! 

“Don’t just tell a different version of the same story--

FLASHPOINTS: We have just received updated news about our 21 congregations from our board members, who met September 22-24! The “Flashpoint” feature will return for the November Update.



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Date: 09/01/17
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