High-level meeting of the General Assembly on the appraisal of the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons – September 27 and 28, 2017

Today is the second day of the appraisal of the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons.  Member states are continuing to make their country statements in the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations, NY   If you want to red your country statement check HERE and navigate to your country statement over the 27th and 28th.

On Wednesday morning the session began with the adoption of the  The Political Declaration in 6 languages

Together with the plenary there were three important session – the official opening and two panels.  For the official opening that following presented statements:       H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, President of the UN General Assembly  UN Webcast             H.E. Mr. António Guterres, UN Secretary-General   UN Webcast                                         H.E. Mr. Yuri Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime                                                                                                                                           Ms. Mira Sorvino, UNODC Goodwill Ambassador for the global fight against human trafficking   UN Webcast                                                                                                              Ms. Grizelda Grootboom,  Civil society representative and a human trafficking survivor represented the power of survivor leadership and the critical importance of Member States to address sex trafficking and the exploitation of prostitution.   UN Webcast marker 34:32

Griselda

Grizelda is from South Africa.  Do listen to her experience of being trafficked.   “Welcoming the fact that the United Nations were gathered to address human trafficking — and that Member States had committed to implementing the Global Plan — she pointed out that women and girls made up 96 per cent of trafficking victims.  “Sex slavery is just another form of oppression, especially for the black child,” she said.  “It is so important to hear the voice of survivors,” she said, adding that it was also important for victims and survivors to see the commitment of the United Nations to helping them.  She stressed that she was not speaking because she wished to be an activist, but because she understood the true pain of being a sex slave.  She concluded by expressing hope that the Plan of Action would not take action merely on paper, but in every community, township and city across the globe.”  Read more

Grizelda is from South Africa.  Do listen to her experience of being trafficked.   “Welcoming the fact that the United Nations were gathered to address human trafficking — and that Member States had committed to implementing the Global Plan — she pointed out that women and girls made up 96 per cent of trafficking victims.  “Sex slavery is just another form of oppression, especially for the black child,” she said.  “It is so important to hear the voice of survivors,” she said, adding that it was also important for victims and survivors to see the commitment of the United Nations to helping them.  She stressed that she was not speaking because she wished to be an activist, but because she understood the true pain of being a sex slave.  She concluded by expressing hope that the Plan of Action would not take action merely on paper, but in every community, township and city across the globe.”  Read more

The Assembly’s first panel discussion was titled “The Global Plan of Action and effective partnerships for the prevention and prosecution of trafficking in persons: achievements, gaps and challenges, also taking into consideration the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals”.

Panel 1 was chaired by Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve (Belgium), it featured presentations by                                                                                                                             Purna Sen, Director of the Policy Division, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women);                                                                 Kevin Cassidy, Senior Communications and External Relations Officer, International Labour Organization (ILO); and                                                                                                 Rani Hong, Chief Executive Officer, The Tronie Foundation.

Panel 2:  The Assembly’s second panel discussion addressed the theme, “the Global Plan of Action and effective partnerships for the protection of and assistance to victims, including through the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, also taking into consideration the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals”.  Chaired by Alya Ahmed Saif al‑Thani (Qatar), it featured three panellists:                           Benita Ferrero‑Waldner, Chair of the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons;                                                                                         Andrew Gilmour, Assistant Secretary‑General for Human Rights and Head of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in New York; and       Joy Ezeilo, Executive Director of Women Aid Collective.

Good Shepherd was able to address the Assembly during this panel.  Webcast  Marker 56.58    Read full statement HLP Global Plan Final Sept 27 2017

Winifred HLP GPOA 2017

The Holy See made a statement during this session also paying tribute to the work of Religious Sisters throughout the world. See marker 34.32

 

September 21, International Day of Peace

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Background

A UN resolution established the International Day of Peace in 1981 to coincide with the opening of the UN General Assembly. The first Peace Day was celebrated in 1982 and was held on the third Tuesday of September each year until 2002, when September 21 became the permanent date for the International Day of Peace. The assembly decided in 2001 that the International Day of Peace should be annually observed on September 21 starting from 2002. By setting a fixed date for the International Day of Peace, the assembly declared that the day should be observed as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence.

By creating the International Day of Peace, the UN devoted itself to worldwide peace and encouraged people to work in cooperation for this goal. Since its inception, Peace Day has marked personal and planetary progress toward peace. It has grown to include millions of people worldwide and many events are organized each year to commemorate and celebrate this day.   Read more

See what people around the world are doing   # PeaceDay MLK-world-art

We signed on to an international peace day statement prepared by the Quaker United Nations Office joining with 131 other organizations promoting PEACE.  See   FINAL International Day of Peace Statement

The statement calls for fully embracing the commitment to peace in the 2030 Agenda; balancing  national efforts with a focus on regional and international drivers of peace, justice and inclusion; mainstreaming prevention; and protect and supporting civil society (you and I) in fostering sustainable peace.

The values of UN Secretary General António Guterres and the President of the General Assembly H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák are to be commended as imperative peace building attitudes and behaviors in a world in trouble, where people are hurting and angry, where societies are fragmented, and “we are a world in pieces.” (Secretary General)

Some quotes  Fiery talk can lead to fatal misunderstandings.”  Guterres was unequivocal about the need for a diplomatic solution to the North Korea crisis. “When tensions rise, so does the chance of miscalculation; fiery talk can lead to fatal misunderstandings. The solution must be political and this is a time for statesmanship—we must not sleepwalk into war.”

“Harsh crackdowns and heavy-handed approaches are counterproductive.” “It’s not enough to fight terrorists on the battlefield…we must do more to address the roots to radicalization, including real and perceived injustices,” he said, adding that “harsh crackdowns and heavy-handed approaches are counterproductive. As soon as we believe that violations of human rights and democratic freedoms are necessary to win the fight, we have lost the war.”

“The science is unassailable.” Reference to the Paris Agreement and climate change.  “Political figures stoke resentment in search of electoral gain.”   This was taking up the issue of migration.   “I have been pained to see the way refugees and migrants have been stereotyped and scapegoated—and to see political figures stoke resentment in search of electoral gain. Refugees, internally displaced persons and migrants are not the problem,” Guterres added, “the problem lies in conflict, persecution and hopeless poverty.”  See  or read or listen to the full statement in the 6 languages of the UN HERE

The President of the General Assembly echoed the same message … a message of hope

“Another major challenge that demands a focus on people is international terrorism. This is not a problem that can be solved with guns, or shut out by barriers. People are at its center. They are the ones contributing to it. They are the ones suffering because of it.

The only way to succeed in both areas will be through choosing to focus on people, rather than rigidly sticking to our individual positions. We need viable global frameworks, which can be implemented by people – and for people – in real time.”

“I see the priority clusters of 1/ peace and prevention, 2/ people and 3/ planet and prosperity as three sides of a triangle. They might not all be the same length, or the same width, but one is as important as the other.”

Human rights are crucial. Neither peace nor development can take hold without them.

We must remember that we have a lot of work to do when it comes to gender equality. Women’s leadership and participation should be a priority in settings of both conflict and peace.”

“We can engage in real dialogue – not a succession of monologues. We can concentrate on how much – and not how little – we can give up in the spirit of compromise. We can look beyond our individual agendas and positions, and see the bigger picture of why the UN is here, and what it is trying to do.”  Read or listen to the full statement in 6 languages of the UN.

A good resource if you want to see what your country said at the opening of the UN General Assembly is to go to this website …. both the text and video is available HERE  You may have to navigate the dates to find your country.

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https://gadebate.un.org/en

 

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.