The Handmaids' Unanima representative, Sister Margaret Scott, attended May 2016 forum
UN’s NEW SECRETARY GENERAL!
According to most sources, António Guterres should be a good pick for UN Secretary General. He is the first former Prime Minister to take the position, having been Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002. He also brings an understanding of the UN from the time he served as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees,from June 2005 to December 2015. He is a left-of-center politician, having served as President of Socialists International. The US mission said that “he has the character, vision, and skills needed to lead the United Nations at this critical moment and to reform its organizations and operations to better meet these unprecedented challenges.” We are still hoping that a woman might be named Deputy Secretary General!
The US ambassador also paid tribute to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for his decade of service to the U.N. saying “he has galvanized the international community behind efforts to address climate change, pushed the United Nations to prevent and resolve deadly conflicts, and advocated for universal values and human rights.” The Secretary General will leave office with two huge parts of his agenda now being implemented—the Sustainable Development Goals and the Climate Agreement.
TRAFFICKED WOMEN RESCUED BY UNANIMA-TRAINED YOUTH!
Three Nigerian women trafficked into Tamale, Ghana, were rescued and reunited with their families by some Catholic youth and their parish priest. The young people had made the 2014 anti-trafficking workshop in Tamale, organized by then-UNANIMA board member Holy Child Sister Cecilia Nya SHCJ. The workshop was given and financed by UNANIMA and several member congregations. -- Mary Akinwale SHCJ
UN SUMMIT ON REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS:
On 19 September 2016 Member States adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants during the General Assembly’s high-level meeting. The theme was “addressing large movements of refugees and migrants, also called the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants. The Declaration includes commitments to protect their rights, to save lives, and to achieve a more equitable sharing of the burden and responsibility for protecting and assisting refugees. It also features a two-year process to develop two global compacts, one on refugees and one for “safe, orderly and regular migration.” If you would like to read it, Here it is in all 5 UN languages! (language buttons at top left.)
“The Summit represents a breakthrough in our collective efforts to address the challenges of human mobility”, said the Secretary-General during the opening segment. He urged Member States to take concrete steps to implement the New York Declaration and launched a global campaign called “Together — Respect, Safety and Dignity for All” as a response to the rising xenophobia and intolerance being directed toward refugees and migrants in many countries.
Migrants and refugees themselves had an opportunity to address the international community and share their stories with the world. “After years of being voiceless and invisible, we the migrants are finally welcomed here to speak,” said Eni Lestari, chairperson of the International Migrants Alliance, in addressing world leaders during the Summit’s opening. “We are the people who have been denied the future, the rights and the dream we used to imagine.” As part of the opening ceremony, the Secretary-General and the Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) signed an agreement establishing the IOM as a related organization of the United Nations. Closer collaboration between the IOM and the rest of the UN system is expected to significantly strengthen the UN’s capacity to respond in times of crisis, and its ability to contribute to improvements in the global governance of migration.
Missed it? The UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants, including its opening and closing segments, plenary meetings and round tables, and the SDG Media Zone dialogues are available on UN Web TV. For more information:
CLIMATE CHANGE NEWS:
On 5 October 2016-- in an unprecedented sign of momentum and global leadership-- the Paris Climate Change Agreement gained enough member state approvals to cross the threshold for “entry into force,” just 10 months after the world came together in Paris. This is considered the most ambitious climate change agreement in history and a turning point in history – if we make it one. It is amazing that countries could set aside their differences to work on this difficult topic. But its implementation is the only true measure of its success, and all parties to the treaty will have to be held accountable for their commitment. It was the ratification by the 28 member nations of the European Union (EU) that sent the ratification over the 55% level (of countries responsible for 55% of the global warming emissions) needed for entry into force. Congratulations to the EU for putting us over the top, and to India (the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases), which ratified the Paris climate agreement on Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday (2 October) The next U.N. climate conference starts 7 November in Marrakech, Morocco.
COMMISSION REGISTRATION OPEN FOR CSocD and CSW:
If you are interested in registering for the 2017 Commission for Social Development, (1-10 February), registration is now open. Registration for the Commission on the Status of Women, (13-24 March 2017)will be open from 11 November to 27 January 2017. Let firstname.lastname@example.org know if you want to sign on for either of these before December 15. After Christmas you will contact Jean Quinn DW. We will give you contact information for Jean at a later time.
UN WATER NEWS:
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and President of the World Bank Group Dr. Jim Yong Kim have convened a High Level Panel on Water (HLPW), consisting of 11 Heads of State and one Special Adviser, to provide the leadership required to champion a collaborative way of developing and managing water resources, and improving water and sanitation related services.
The core focus of the Panel is the commitment to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all (Sustainable Development Goal #6), as well as to contribute to the achievement of the other SDGs that rely on the development and management of water resources.
On 21 September 2016 the HLPW called for a fundamental shift in the way the world looks at water, and issued an Action Plan for a new approach to water management that will help the world to achieve the 2030 agenda. The Panel was established for an initial period of two years. For more information and to read the action plan, please visit the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/HLPWater
INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ERADICATION OF POVERTY
The NGO community always helps with a big celebration of this day. One of the NGOs that specializes in working on poverty issues ensures that the ceremonies include the voices of people actually living in poverty. Share it on Moving from humiliation and exclusion to participation: Ending poverty in all its forms
- In preparation for the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia USA, UNANIMA board member Margaret Scott ACI served on the media committee of an Anti-Human Trafficking Coalition. Made up of Catholic Sisters, church groups, Covenant House, and other members, the Coalition adopted various strategies to raise awareness about trafficking. They put their logo on three central bus stops near the Convention Center, where they gave out information and engaged passersby in discussion. A large building which could be seen all over the city featured the message “stop human trafficking” in rotating lights during the three days of the Convention. There was an article in the paper, and other members organized training for all the hotels in downtown Philadelphia and at the airport. For more information please see the webpage: Philadelphia Anti-Trafficking Coalition: LET FREEDOM RING. www.patcoalition.org/ In other news, the picture shows Margaret taking her oath of citizenship to become a citizen of the USA! Congratulations, Margaret!
- Brigidine Sisters have supported ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious against Trafficking in Humans) with human resources, finance and office space since the group’s foundation. Claire Griffin CSB works with members of other congregations who support trafficked labourers, and trafficked and exploited women and their children. In early September 2016 an ACRATH group travelled to Canberra, Australia’s centre for Federal Government (see picture), to speak with Minister Keenan about the need for funding over the next three years for ACRATH. Australia’s international obligations for vulnerable and exploited persons are met in part by ACRATH’s work. Members raised concerns about 1) overseas forced and exploited labour in Australia’s building boom and 2) the lack of prosecution for those guilty of exploitation according to the recent Reform of Employer Sanctions Act 2013. They asked how many prosecutions actually have taken place, and how much justifiable back pay have exploited workers received. Another issue raised was the critical need for funds for personal support for trafficked women and their children. ACRATH’S forceful advocacy also focused on the establishment of a national compensation scheme.
- S. Amomah Kaduah Matilda SMI from the Upper East Region of Ghana joined the students and Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary at Holy Names Academy in Seattle USA, for a peace vigil on the Feast of Francis of Assisi. Sister Matilda is in the center, and to her right (left to right) are Rosemary Perisich SNJM and Mary Annette Dworshak SNJM, who coordinated the event.
- In Austria, the Salvatorian Sisters are one of six congregations who participate in SOLWODI (Solidarity with Women in Distress) which was established to provide protective housing and counseling services for victims of trafficking, forced prostitution, and sexual violence and exploitation. Patricia Erber SDS (picture, with two of the home’s children) is the chairwoman of SOLWODI Austria. In 2015 the 10 women were from Hungary, Czech Republic, Romania, and Nigeria. Another 30 women received referral services for counseling, legal assistance, medical care, or social services. Currently the residence is caring for 9 women and 6 children. A new shelter is being planned for the western part of Austria, and they are collaborating with an inter-congregational group of sisters (including Erika Moser SDS) who would like to start a Center in Hungary.
ONE INTERNSHIP LEFT FOR JANUARY AND SEPTEMBER 2017!
One sister is already accepted for each spot, but it is not too late to apply!