A World Where All Girls Can Reach Their Full Potential

Click on Ending Child, Early and Forced Marriage to see the webcast from the United Nations.  The event took place yesterday September 22 and was sponsored by Canada, Italy, Yemen and Zambia and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).  The Working Group on Girls through the Anglican Women’s Empowerment sponsored one of the panelist bringing her from Kenya.  Her name is Faith.  Listen to her address the UN Member States.  Well done Faith!  End FGM and Child, Early and Forced Marriage Now!

URGENT : Call for signatures! On line signature campaign to repeal the sedition act in Malaysia. TAKE ACTION NOW!

Signature Campaign … Sign Here

The signature campaign can be accessed at the link above.  Please go on line and fill in your name and e-mail address in support.  You will receive an email to confirm your address.  This is an important step in the process so don’t forget to check your e-mail and confirm.

Good Shepherd Mission Partners in Malaysia have asked the Good Shepherd International Justice Peace Office (GSIJP) to gather support for an on-line signature petition to repeal the sedition act in Malaysia.   The GSIJP office is fully informed of the situation and endorses the campaign.  Currently many human rights defenders are under threat in Malaysia among them Edmund Bon.  I quote from the Malaysian Bar press release of September 18th “ A lawyer, Edmund Bon, was reported in the news media on 12 September 2014 as being investigated under the Sedition Act 1948 in relation to his alleged comments on the Federal Constitution, by way of legal opinion, in a news report entitled “Bukan Islam tidak perlu patuh kepada titah Diraja atau fatwa, kata peguam”.”  He is not the only one – there are references to three other –  in the press release.  Full text here

On September 16th Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein) urged  Malaysian authorities to immediately stop investigations and prosecutions under a 1948 law that curbed free speech and freedom of expression in the South-east Asian nation. Click here to read more

The signature campaign can be accessed below.  Please go on line and fill in your name and e-mail address in support.  You will receive an email to confirm your address.  This is an important step in the process so don’t forget to check your e-mail and confirm.   EVERY SIGNATURE COUNTS – CLICK HERE


69th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations

The 69th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations will commence today.  The President Elect is His Excellency Mr. Sam Kutesa, from Uganda.  The new President was elected on June 11.  Secretary General Ban Ki Moon made some remarks following the election acknowledging the experiences that the new president bring to the position, outlining the skills required of a President of the General Assembly, noting some of the momentous agenda items for this session which will have great consequences for the well being of all people and the planet. The Secretary General concluded with the desire that all member states seek to work together to end extreme poverty and set the world on a path to peace, justice and sustainability through dialogue, decision and actions, to bring about the world we want and a life of dignity for all!    Click here

Secretary-Generalmeeting with H.E. Mr. Sam K. Kutesa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uganda.


September 21st United Nations International Day of Peace

Right of Peoples to Peace


Help build a Culture of Peace.  Join people around the world to celebrate the International Day of peace with prayers and reflections, service and action, and art and music!

The UN Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace was proclaimed 30 years ago  – November 1984.  The theme this year recognizes this declaration.  Text of the UN Declaration of the Right of Peoples to Peace



To coincide with the ‘Climate Summit 2014″ convened by the Secretary General on Tuesday, 23rd September the “People’s Climate March is happening on Sunday 21st also.

Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action  Platform K

See Hillary Clinton address the 4th World Conference of Women in Beijing Click here

Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action   Platform E

Security Council Resolution on Women and Peace  Resolution 1325

Facebook    and #peaceday





Link to Webcast on Child, Early and Forced Marriage

UN Webcast of panel discussion on child early and forced marriage.

FlaviaPansieri (1)Ms Flavia Pansieri, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights addressed the panel via video link.

Her address is especially relevant as Ms. Pansieri pulls together the numerous root causes of child, early and forced marriage emphasizing the need for comprehensive strategies towards its elimination. One of the main recommendation of Human Rights Council Resolution on ‘Strengthening efforts to prevent and eliminate child, early and forced marriage: challenges, achievements, best practices and implementation gaps’ is the need for comprehensive approaches to eliminate it as  part of the broader development agenda  together with promoting  equality and eliminating  discrimination against all girls and women.   Integrating the elimination of child, early and forced marriage into the overall development approach is critical.  Target 5.3 of the Outcome Document of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals  submitted to the UN General  Assembly recently reads “Elimination of all harmful practices including child, early and forced marriage.”  It is important that this target is retained as there are a host of human rights violations interconnected.

Within child and forced marriage the informed consent of the girl or woman is absent.  This is a serious human rights violation.    Access to education, information, health, services, as well as productive resources and decision making are equally at risk in child and forced marriage.

There is a need for a common understanding of the meaning of the terms – child, early and forced – based on authorative guidance from human rights mechanism.

The human rights of the girl or woman who is ‘married off’ are violated and this in turn sets up and solidifies a cycle of discrimination and denial of human rights. These rights violations have high development costs. The elimination child, early and forced marriage will require overcoming many development challenges with regard to access to education and the eradication of poverty.

In child, early and forced marriage, the marriage is a way to provide economically for girls who  themselves have no autonomy,  have no access to resources or income especially in situations of extreme poverty.  The economic benefits of child, early and forced marriage are greater when the children are younger as the dowry is lower for younger brides.

Child and forced marriage are strongly associated with girls and women with little or no formal education, and  persists where there is poor quality education,  overcrowding, untrained teachers, and gender based violence.   These increase the likelihood of child and forced marriage. Finding effective ways to lift communities of out of poverty and keep girls in school must be a key development priority and strategy to end child, early and forced marriage.

But this is not enough.  The roots are in discrimination based on sex, and widespread stereotypes about the role girls and women have in the family and society.  Sustainable development is impossible as long as the talents and skills of 50% of the population are effectively squandered.

Child and forced marriage is one of the most glaring manifestations of how discrimination and stereotypes have hindered progress for girls and women.  If ‘married off’ the  girl has less opportunities for education, employment,   access to land and other productive resources and experiences challenges in achieving her rights  Sustainable development needs to urgently  address the  harmful stereotypes of girls and women’s role within marriage and in society.

Child and forced marriage is a matter of health and survival.    90% of adolescent pregnancy occurs within marriage with the risk of dying either during pregnancy or in childbirth.   These girls and women are not empowered to make decision about their sexual and reproduction health, cannot decide on the number and spacing of their children thus compromising their health and lives and are also exposed to sexually transmitted infections and HIV.   Age appropriate, culturally relevant sexual education is essential coupled with accurate knowledge about sexual and reproductive health.

Putting the human rights  of every girl and every woman at the center of sustainable development means that no girl drops out of school to get married,  that each girl is fully empowered to choose if and when and whom to marry and to choose  if and when to have children.  Girls are equal member of society with the right to study, to work and to lead, not an economic assets or vessel of reproduction.    Implementing a human rights based sustainable development agenda benefits not just the girls and women but everybody,  man women and child.

Check out ‘The Girl Child’ Good Shepherd Position Papers  and the L Platform from the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action The Girl Child

Child Early and Forced Marriage

UN NYThis morning I attended a panel discussion on child, early and forced marriage worldwide, including the elaboration of the post -2015 development agenda.  The moderator for the panel was Mabel van Oranje, Chair of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage


  • Mr John Hendra, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy and Programme, UN Women
  • Ms. Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, Secretary General of World YWCA and Goodwill Ambassador for the African Union’s Campaign to End Child Marriage.
  • Ms Ndodeye Bassey-Obongha, Coordinator at Girls’ Power Initiative (GPI), Nigeria
  • Mr. Amjad Rabi, Chief of Social Policy and Economic Analysis Section, UNICEF Nepal
  • Dr. Anita Raj, Director of University of California San Diego’s Center on Gender Equity and Health and Professor in the Division of Global Public Health.

The session acknowledged the fact that Member States adopted the first every resolution on child early and forced marriage at the Human Rights Council in June of this year.  The States presenting the resolution were: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Armenia, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Chad, Congo, Cuba, Czech Republic, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Djibouti, DRC, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Ghana, Guinea, Haiti, Hungary, Honduras, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Morocco, Mozambique,Maldives, Montenegro, Namibia, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Palestine, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Timor Leste, Togo, Tunisia, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom,Uganda, United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yemen, Zambia. 

You can read the resolution in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian. HRC 24th 27/09/2013 A/HRC/RES/24/23 Strengthening efforts to prevent and eliminate child, early and forced marriage: challenges, achievements, best practices and implementation gaps

logo girls not bridesGirls not Brides is a partnership of more than 400 civil society organizations committed to ending child marriage. Girls not Brides have a particularly good website with all the necessary information on child, early and forced marriage.  Click here

See the 20 countries with the highest prevalence of child marriage:  Click here

Check out some solutions and select one to do: Click here

Has your country a minimum legal age for marriage?  What is it?  Does it facilitate early marriage?  Read more

The Theory of Change articulates what an effective response to child marriage entails.  Use this tool for discussion as to how to bring about change

Imagine – child early and forced marriage was not part of the Millennium Development Goals. The first international day of the girl was celebrated on October 11, 2012 (10.11.12)  Child early and forced marriage was part of the agenda of the first international day.  In June 2014 there was the first ever UN Resolution.  Target 5.3 of the Open Working Group – Sustainable Development Goals Outcome Document  ‘eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilations.’ In the website Girls not Brides you can see the human rights, gender equality, education, health and economic advantages to be had in eliminating these practices.


September -UN Women Campaign Sub-theme: Women and the Economy

Beijing_Carousel_LetsGo jpgUN Women’s #Beijing20 campaign features monthly mini-campaigns, each focusing on a subtheme of gender equality. We are now rolling out the fourth mini-campaign for September, focusing on women and the economy.  Read more   Click here   Women and the Economy is Platform F of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – Pages 65 – 79 of the attached document.  Paragraphs 150 to 180.  Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action

Visit the website in English,     Spanish,   French

There is a social media package for this month in three languages – Click here



Christine Lagarde A former French minister for various economic portfolios – including finance and employment, agriculture and fisheries, and trade – Christine Lagarde was the first woman to become finance minister of a G8 economy and is the first woman to head the International Monetary Fund (IMF).


How does all this compare with reality on the ground see Democratic Republic of Congo as an example.  “…despite the multi-billion-dollar mining trade, very little of its success ever reaches the people of the region…”  Read more