More views on the experience of the High Level Political Forum

Some more interesting reflections are being published on the High Level Political Forum.  I am sharing two here – one a reflection by religious at the United Nations Global Sisters Report  and the second an interesting blog posting from Saferworld ‘Crowding out accountability: The follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda’



July 30 – World Day against Trafficking in Persons

In 2013 the United Nations General Assembly designated July 30 as the World Day against Trafficking in Persons. This was an action taken following review of the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Person adopted in 2010.  The Global Plan of Action is scheduled to be reviewed in 2017.  Will we see political will  and action commensurate with ‘the bold and transformative steps …needed to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path’ when member states ‘pledged that no one will be left behind.’  2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Targets within Goal 5, 16 and 8 address human trafficking.

Maria Grazia Giammarinaro,the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children in Geneva on June 30, 2015 said “Today, we should look at trafficking as an economic and social issue, linked with global trends including migration. Therefore prevention is key.  …in the current situation, people fleeing persecution, war or other emergencies are amongst the most vulnerable, often exposed to the risk of trafficking, including children traveling alone, women and girls who are raped during the journey and exploited in prostitution at destination, men, women and children obliged to accept inhuman working conditions to survive.”

The Special Rapporteur ended her address with the following “Trafficking takes place because enormous economic interests lie behind exploitation of the global poor. However, this can be stopped, if people of good will – both powerful people and simple citizens – feel that trafficking is morally and socially unacceptable, and take action against exploitation, injustice, and human rights violations.”

On 13 July 2016 during the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See, in cooperation with the NGO Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons, the Salesian Missions, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and ECPAT-USA organized a panel on Eliminating the Trafficking of Children and Youth   See the July 13 Poster Eliminating Child Trafficking   Angela Reed, Mercy Sister was one of the panelists proposing a human rights based life-course approach to end human trafficking.

un-Ihaveavoice-cover-300px-212x300     World Day Against H T


“A child of God, sold on the market as a goat, I will never accept that!” St Mary Euphrasia.

This month the prayer is on the theme of Human Trafficking and available in three languages  English  French  Spanish

The Spirituality Center has distributed a reflection paper on the occasion of the 220th year of the birth of St Mary Euphrasia.  Check HERE as a way of integrating justice peace, ministry and spirituality.

Good Shepherd HT


Sustainable Development Goals Report 2016

Winifred DThe High Level Political Forum ended on July 21st.  It was a hectic eight days of reports, presentations, round tables, side events etc.  To see some pictures with summary highlights Click here   The national voluntary reviews of 22 countries was a central piece.  You can check the WEBSITE  for the reports and the UN Webcast has video of the presentations. Most countries choose to present as groups Session 1  Mexico, Morocco, Sierra Leone, Switzerland and Montenegro on the morning of July 19th   Session 2  Norway, Madagascar, Georgia and Turkey Session 3 Finland, Samoa, Uganda and Germany.   On July 20th  Session 4 Togo, Estonia and the Philippine and later the same morning Session 5 where 6 countries choose to present individual reports – Colombia, Egypt, France, China, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Republic of Korea.

Major Groups and other Stakeholders were active throughout – making statements and asking questions where possible.  Two different organizations had prepared reports from the  perspective of Civil Society. Together 2030 is one such group.  Good Shepherd groups from some countries contributed to this report.   Another group that was launched towards the end of the HLPF was Action for Sustainable Development  Reports are available on each country and some representatives from the countries were present. See my TWITTER account for comment and photographs.

The most interesting of the national voluntary reports was the one from Finland  and the most interesting side event was Grass Roots–Caritas–CAFOD Side Event July 13 which demonstrated ‘Leaving No One Behind’ in action and the principles of the work are outlined in a booklet  (not on line yet but when it is I will post the link)NGO CSoc D

Facebook did a nice little video of the event

The conclusion of the HLPF can be viewed HERE with the adoption of the Ministerial Declaration.  Overall, the HLPF did not address the root causes of why people are excluded, left behind.  The proceedings failed to address structural and systemic issues, there was not a strong emphasis on ‘gender equality’ and the means of implementation is dependent on the ‘private sector’ with much talk that economic growth will ensure development.  I was startled when Secretary General Ban Ki Moon called on member states to ratify the Paris Agreement  saying: “In April, 178 countries signed the Paris Agreement at the UN Headquarters, and 19 countries have so far ratified. But these 19 countries accounted for less than 1 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr. Ban encouraged at least 40 countries who committed that they will ratify this Paris Agreement before the end of this year, including the United States, China, Australia, Indonesia, Mexico, and Argentina.” Read more  So what is the real commitment to the Paris Agreement of December 2015  if only 19 countries have ratified.  Check here to see the names of the 19 countries  They are the islands who are slowly disappearing because of sea levels rising and they have not contributed to the problem.  Are the small island states being left behind?  Is the situation any different for people living in poverty or for women and girls?  

This increasing number of murders of Women Human Rights Defenders was a cause of concern to women’s groups.  Gloria Capitan, Anti-Coal Activist   


Q & A with Srs. Eileen Reilly and Winifred Doherty, teaching others to be global citizens

From Global Sisters Report by Christ Herlinger, published June 28, 2016 teaching others to be global citizens on line version


Sr. Winifred Doherty, the U.N. representative of the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd (GSR photo / Chris Herlinger)

UN – High Level Political Forum 2016

HLPFThe High Level Political Forum (for those who love acronyms HLPF) starts on Monday July 11th.  Full details of all that will take place is on the website Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform  If you have a smart phone you can down load the app HLPF and have immediate access.  The website is only in English (apologies). The HLPF is the central platform for follow up of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  By clicking HERE you can see easily the sustainable development goals which is the subject of the review.  Commitment to implementation began in every country on  January 1, 2016.  The theme of this years’ review is ‘Ensuring That No One Is Left Behind.’   There are the official meetings of the HLPF and multiple side events.

Part of the official meeting is the presentation of 22 national reports on implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  Good Shepherd is present in 1o of the 22 countries -Colombia, Egypt, France, Germany, Madagascar, Mexico, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Switzerland and Venezuela. A direct link is HERE and the reports are in French, Spanish and English depending on the language of the country. (The French report is not yet posted)

Apart from inputs from governments there are inputs from Intergovernmental Bodies and Forums – including the Commission for Social Development,  Commission on the Status of Women,  Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women  (CEDAW),  Human Rights Council ,    Human Rights Treaty Bodies, International Labour Organization (ILO) and International Dialogue on Migration  These are points of contact that the GSIJP Office follow at the United Nations throughout the year. The full list can be accessed here

A third group is  Major Groups and Other Stakeholders   We are members of the Women’s Major Group and have signed on to that paper.  Click HERE  The paper is divided into six areas 1. Introduction; 2. The Women’s Major Group; 3. Addressing the systemic causes of ‘being left behind’; 4. Key areas of action for implementation, follow-up and review to ensure no one is left behind; 5.Ensuring that the Review of 2030 Agenda Leaves No One Behind; and 6. Conclusion.

The focus on addressing systemic causes of ‘being left behind’ is central to our work at the United Nations. ‘Identifying and responding to the intertwined systemic issues of neoliberalism, fundamentalisms, militarism, racism and patriarchy, and their correlation to inequality and gender inequality, are essential for the successful implementation o the 2030 Agenda and shout be an important focus of follow up and review processes at all levels…” and address the systems that negatively affect the lives and lived realities of all girls and women of all ages.

In section 4 there is a call for a) inclusion and participation of grassroots women’s organizations in planning, implementation and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda at the local and national level.  The advice of 19 year old Berryl from Kenya sums this up quite succinctly:        “Bringing girls and young women to the table during the discussions about the SDGs is important because girls are the experts in their own lives. Girls and young women in the communities should be taught about the SDGs and how they affect their lives so they can monitor the implementation and how well the governments are doing. I think that world leaders need to:

  •  Give better support to girl advocates by providing resources and encouragement.
  •  ….allocate budget[s] for implementation of the SDGs, especially Goal 5 and Goal 16.
  • Invest in girls and their access to education

An educated, empowered girl is good not only for the family but also for the community, country and the world.” 

b) Financing and capacity building for women’s rights groups at all levels.

c) Gender disaggregated data

Section 5 states that women’s groups must be meaningfully engaged at all levels of the implementation, follow up and review from the national level to the global.

We also have a voice in the Major Group of Non Governmental Organizations  See HERE

Another set of inputs can be found in Partnerships and Voluntary Commitments

GSIFThroughout the HLPF the GSIJP Office are using the brochure prepared by the Good Shepherd International Foundation ONLUS ‘Promoting Inclusive Development for Women and Children.’ highlighting  Participation, Empowerment, Livelihood and Human Rights in programs focusing on  community development and economic justice; child protection and education; girls and women’s empowerment; and migrant and anti-human trafficking.  See the brochure by clicking on the link

GSIF Promoting Inclusive Development for Women and Children

Good Shepherd International Foundation Brochure – Where are the SDGs?
How We Help

  •  Community Development and Economic Justice
  • “Projects to eradicate extreme poverty” (SDG 1)
  •   Market research, business training and planning, micro‐finance and micro‐credit to start micro-enterprises to raise level of income (SDG 8)
  •  Advocating to change unjust structures discriminating women and to break the cycle of poverty and exploitation (SDG 5)
  • Children Protection and Education
  •  “Programs protect and promote the rights of the most vulnerable children” in a holistic model of care
  • Psycho‐social assistance (SDG 3)
  • Nutritional Support (SDG 2)
  • Remedial education to be mainstreamed in the school system (SDG 4)
  • Awareness of human rights and activities for social cohesion and peace building (SDG 16)
  • Girls and Women Empowerment
  • Projects “help to achieve SDG no.5”
  • Engaging women and girls living in poverty (SDG 1), at‐risk of exploitation or victims of violence (SDG 16)
  • Counseling, psycho‐social assistance (SDG 3)
  • Reintegration in formal education (SDG 4)
  • Skills training, access to micro‐finance and micro‐credit, support to income generating activities (SDG 8)
  • Migrants and Anti‐human Trafficking
  • Programs to protect children, girls and women who have been trafficked or victims of commercial sexual exploitation (SDG 5, 8, 16)
  • Programs in border areas, where the rights of children, girls and women migrants are most at risk (SDG 8)
  • Psycho‐social support programs for children and women refugees (SDG 3)

The Trafficking in Persons (TIP)2016 Report 2016 published on June 30th

2016_Report_Cover_200_1On June 30, the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry released the 2016  (TIP) Trafficking in Persons Report.  The TIP report is prepared by the US State Department and published annually.  It is a comprehensive report providing information on anti-trafficking efforts throughout the world. The report is divided in two parts – pages 1 -66 an overview, topics of special interest, some definitions and methodology.  Part two present the country narratives. The report provides country-specific narratives for 188 countries and territories including the United States. These narratives illustrate the scope of human trafficking and each government’s efforts to combat what is commonly referred to as modern slavery.  Each countries receives a ranking called Tier. There are 4 Tiers: Tier 1, Tier 2; Tier 2 Watch List and Tier 3.  See pages 55 and 56 for a definition of the various tiers and see to see where your country is ranked.  (Pages 66 – 410)  Out of the 188 countries analyzed in the 2016 report, 36 countries were placed on Tier 1; 78 countries on Tier 2; 44 were placed on the Tier 2 Watch List; and 27 countries were placed on Tier 3. In all, there were 27 downgrades and 20 upgrades of countries as compared to last year.                            The TIP Report in full

2016TIP-300x169Part one of the report can be accessed here          It is a combination of text, pictures and other graphics.    This year the report is more balanced with regard to human trafficking for sexual exploitation and trafficking for labour.  The report takes account of gender inequality and references prostitution in a number of places where women and girls are trafficked into prostitution.  See the box inserts on page 5, 8, 10, 12,14 etc. Child Labour features throughout the report e.g. page 16 references Burkina Faso, and girls are mentioned many times in the report.  See page 11 “Young girls are exploited in forced labour around the world.  Peruvian girls are forced to make bricks in the hot sun; in Pakistan debt bondage traps girls in carpet-making factories; in Ethiopia, girls from rural areas are exploited in domestic servitude; and traffickers in Malawi force girls to labour in the agricultural sector.”  Read what a convicted sex trafficker said on page 16.

Good news the Republic of Korea, Singapore and Sri Lanka became parties to The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Person, Especially Women and Children, supplement the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime between April 2015 and March 2016.  See page 19 where the countries that are not State Parties to the Protocol are listed.

Among the examples of partnerships is the Santa Marta Group, ‘a partnership between international police chiefs and Catholic bishops from around the world, working together with civil society to end modern slavery through a process endorsed by Pope Francis.’ The other examples are from Uruguay and Guatemala.

Secretary of State John Kerry noted that ‘modern slavery is connected to a host of 21st century challenges – from environmental sustainability to advancing the lives of women and girls to combating transactional organized crime.  Wherever we find poverty and lack of opportunity – wherever the rule of law is weak and where corruption is most ingrained, where minorities are abused, and where populations can’t count on the protection of governments – we find not just vulnerability to trafficking but zones of impunity where traffickers can prey on their victims.”

This leads me to the United Nations and reference to the  adoption of the ‘2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development “to guide the global community’s effort to eradicate poverty, promote peace and equality, and protect the environment.  Anti-trafficking elements are integrated into three of the goals …  5.2; 8.7 and 16.2   While paragraph 27 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is not cited “We will eradicate forced la and human trafficking and end child labour in all its forms” the TIP report this year is largely focusing  on this.  Do check out Alliance 8.7 an Initiative of ILO Working together to end child and modern slavery

On page 43 mention is made of the fact that The United Nations Security Council addressed for the first time the issue of human trafficking on December 16, 2015  when Nadia Murid Basee Taha, a Yezidi survivor of human trafficking gave her testimony to the Security Council.  Nadia had been trafficked by ISIS.

A very positive strategy by President Obama has been the setting up a U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking in December 2015.  There are 11 members and each is a survivor of human trafficking.  It is a formal platform to advise and make recommendations on federal anti-trafficking policies.  It is a two-year term – see page 41.

The content of part 1 has subdivisions – Page 7 – 19  Meeting the Global Challenge: Effective Strategies to Prevent Human Trafficking  Do read about raising awareness on page 12 and Policies and Programs to Reduce Risk and Empower Vulnerable Individuals page 15.  A second subdivision entitled Topics of Special Interests begins on pages 20 highlighting the challenges in protecting vulnerable populations who experience multiple and cumulative hardships, discriminations and social marginalization. Refugees and migrants are extremely vulnerable given that ‘one in every 113 people globally is now either an asylum-seeker, internally displaced or a refugee – putting them at a level of risk for which UNHCR knows no precedent.’ UNHCR, Global trends.  The situation in Syria and Lebanon is outline on page 21 highlighting trafficking of women and girls for sex trafficking and migrants fleeing crisis are often trapped in sex and labour trafficking by their smugglers.  “Women, unaccompanied minors, and those denied asylum are particularly vulnerable to human trafficking, including while in transit and upon arrival in destination countries.” page 21

Sometimes there is a price to be paid for advocacy and this is noted in this years report on page 29 and the 2016 TIP Report Heroes are found on pages 48 -52  coming from The Bahamas, Botswana, Cyprus, Nepal, Mauritania, Pakistan, Russia, Senegal and Hungary.  Pages 57 -62 are a series of regional maps showing Tier Placements.

A Human Right-Life Course Five Point Framework Addressing Human Trafficking proposed by Sisters of Mercy and Congregation of Our lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd based on the work of Dr Angela Reed RSM, Ph.D. and Marietta Latonio in a book titled ‘I Have a Voice – Trafficked women in their own words’.

  1. Privileges the insights gained from narratives shared by those who have been trafficked.  –  The U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking is an example of this.
  2. Recognizes that the interplay between the personal life story and systemic oppression renders one vulnerable to human trafficking. –  See challenges in protecting vulnerable populations  page 20. Demand for commercial sex  ‘purchasers of commercial sex’ – (page 12) and ‘reduce the demand for commercial sex ‘(page 15) is a systemic issue together with patriarchy, power, the subjugation of girls and women, gender based violence and the stubborn persistence of a system of prostitution and poverty all fuel human trafficking.
  3. Acknowledges cumulative disadvantage and addresses vulnerabilities across the life cycle. This begins with birth registration, legal registration, citizenship and nationality page, 14,15 and  46  education, health care, decent work and a living wage,  and universal social protection floors.
  4. Prioritizes and uses qualitative data on actual experiences and circumstances of trafficking for policy formulation  – the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking exemplifies this.  Could this be extended to all countries?
  5. Addresses the systemic causes of economic, social,  gender disparity and discriminations.  ‘Poverty does not justify human trafficking’ Page 7  ‘When inequality exists and where certain people lack access to social protection and justice, human traffickers are able to thrive. Page 8  Eradicating poverty, promoting peace and equality  and gender equality are some of the systemic issues that The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development committed to address.