Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62) March 12 – 23, 2018

 

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The Commission on the Status of Women commenced on Monday March 12.  It was preceded by the NGOCSW Consultation Day on Sunday March 11.  The team from the GSIJP office attended together with two of the Good Shepherd Volunteers,  Amore and Samatha and Nancy Fritche Egan (known to many of you) and her friends Eileen Reed, Diane Jordan, and Lucia Alcantara.

 

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It is impossible to be abreast of all the activities that CSW provides but one thing is sure we were constantly concerned about girls and women who live in rural areas and face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination throughout their lifecycle – the list is endless – poverty, food insecurity, violence, trafficking, sexual abuse, race discrimination, and violations of human rights.  We were advocating for the right to own, inherits, bequeath, manage and profit from land and productive assets; access to physical, mental, and reproductive health care and services, quality education, provision of credit facilities,  financial inclusion and social protection floors, zero tolerance of  abusive labour practices, human trafficking, prostitution, child early and forced marriage, rape, sexual harassment,  and female genital mutilation.  We seemed to be alternating between issues and groups that are discriminated against, widows, older women, indigenous women, girls, migrant women, low paid women, girls and women with disabilities, and mountain women and girls.  Concern was expressed about the lack of safe drinking water, water supplies, and scarcity and lack of adequate sanitation facilitates, hygiene facilities including menstrual hygiene management.  Other global issues like climate change, and armed conflict were also addressed.  The situation of women human rights defenders was  made ever more poignant by the assignation of Marielle Franco, a Brazilian activist, on March 14th in Rio De Janeiro.

The response from the 193 member states comes in the form of ‘Agreed Conclusion.’ They are being negotiated during this second week preparing the way towards commitments to girls and women living in rural areas to uphold all human rights, and implement economic and social policies for the empowerment of all girls and women, while strengthening girls’ and women’s collective voice, leadership and participation in decision making at all level.

The Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women this year is H.E. Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason from Ireland.  We wish her success as she chairs the negotiations for the best possible outcome for girls and women. The opening of the Commission and all formal meeting were Webcast and can be accessed HERE

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The UN Secretary General had a townhall meeting with women gathered for CSW 62 and you can also follow how the #METOO campaign was brought forward.  The various panels addressed the various issues contained in the priority and review theme

  • Priority theme:
    Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls;
  • Review theme:
    Participation in and access of women to the media, and information and communications technologies and their impact on and use as an instrument for the advancement and empowerment of women (agreed conclusions of the forty-seventh session);

Engagement of Good Shepherd at the Commission was on a few levels responding to various invitations to engage and contribute.  Monique Tarabeh , communication in Rome submitted artwork for the NGOCSW handbook, GSIF office prepared an advertisement encouraging people to view MAHILA  The GSIJP Office prepared a statement to the Commission available in the 6 languages of the UN  Statement to CSW 62 and Mirjam Beike, NGO Representative to Geneva, currently in New York, drafted and presented an oral statement to the Commission on the girl child supported by 26 religious and faith based organizations.   Click on Mirjam to see the video.

Good Shepherd co-sponsored two side events one on human trafficking in collaboration with the Mission of the Holy See to the UN – read the summary HERE  “The common narrative of rural women lured into big cities by the false promises of traffickers and forced into sex slavery was described at the keynote speech of the conference by survivor Mely Lenario from the Philippines.” – A Good Shepherd Service in Cebu. –  Following Mely presentation there was standing ovation.  Webcast of the event

The second event was on water and was entitled ‘Wisdom, rural women and water, Unmuting women’s voices for integrated Water Policy’.  This event was prepared by the Mining Working Group and Cecilie live-streamed it on Facebook   Link to morning briefing webcasts that I participated in  Morning Briefing March 20 and  Morning Briefing March 22

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Screen Shot 2018-03-24 at 11.39.50 AMSarah Benson from Ruhama (Ireland) and Coalition against Prostitution (CAP International) had a number of event which featured survivors of human trafficking as well as NGO’s and Members of Government.   The Mission of Ireland Webcast  led in ‘Presenting challenges and considering solutions to combat sex trafficking and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation of women and girls (CSW62 Side Event)’   The Irish Ambassador to the UN Geraldine Byrne Nason paid tribute to the work of Sarah Benson.  Well done Sarah!   Grégoire Théry CAP International chaired the event.

Activities are multiple and complex engaging not just at the political level but also socially and in supportive roles with other NGO’s particularly the NGOCSW Committee.                                                                                                                                                                          Nancy & MirjamFor me this year I was very engaged in and committed to preparing for and following the an outcome document.  Mirjam represented us at the NGOCSW Reception on March 13th where she was photographed with Nancy Fritche Egan.  This event overlapped with the Coalitions Against Trafficking in Women’s reception which I attended,   The ARISE Foundations sponsored a reception on March 11th for religious engaged in anti-trafficking work.

Screen Shot 2018-03-24 at 1.52.35 PMAnother side event entitled “#MeToo Say Survivors: Human Rights, Gender and Trafficking in Human Beings’ was held on 15 Mar 2018.  It was organized by OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, UN Women,  United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) together with Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) and Equality Now. Link to Webcast.   Some extraordinary survivors of prostitution and human trafficking shared their stories.  Mira Sorinvo, UNODC Goodwill Ambassador was also a panelist.  ‘#Metoo movement must represent trafficked and prostituted persons.’

 

On Saturday March 17th there was a strategy meeting with the Women’s Major Group in preparation for the High Level Political Forum which will take place in July.  Mirjam attended this also.  There was an opportunity to remember human rights defenders and all activists who engage on behalf of girls and women.  In the moment of reflection it was my privilege to remember our own Good Shepherd Auguchita, who gave her life too!  I did write her name and place it with the others.

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Good Resources to follow up on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s)

The UN Women and UNEG (United Nations Evaluation Group) have developed a guideline in 5 languages to evaluate the SDGs with a gender lens. Link to English, Arabic, French, Russian and Spanish

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Another excellent resource linking the SDG’s with various human rights mechanism has been published by the Danish Institute For Human Rights.  It too, is is multiple languages and has an interactive dimension – you can choose a goal or target and see the linkages to human rights.

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Human Rights Guilde

Link Here The Human Rights Guide to the Sustainable Development Goals

It’s November – Get ready to add your voice and your action to end all violence against girls and women 2017!

The 16 days campaign to end violence against girls and women is at hand.  It begins on November 25th and ends on December 10th.

According to UNICEF’s latest report, “A Familiar Face,” 9 million girls were victims of forced sex last year. Only 1% reached out for help. Help us stop the sexual exploitation of girls who can’t speak out.  Read the report   Use your social media by  clicking HERE  #HerToo  #MeToo #NowYouKnow.

Orange the World

Taken from the website of UN Women the link to the full document is 16 Days 2017 Action Plan Final

Because it is thanksgiving weekend in the USA the following areKey Activities

The 16 days of activism against gender based violence is in multiple languages and maybe more helpful in creating awareness Choose your language  However the tool kit is only in English.

UN Women have a report Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces.  “A series of stories illustrate what authorities, grass-roots women, women’s organizations and other community partners can do as part of a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to prevent and respond to sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence against women and girls in public spaces. Many of their initiatives have successfully enhanced safety, including through a focus on the most impoverished urban areas.

English   Spanish   It is not available in French.

Statement on International Migration…

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NGO Com on Migration  Misión de México ONU  Switzerland at the UN    IOM        GCM

Representative of the GSIJP Team and Mercy International Association team in Geneva for the thematic consultation on migration.   Today Cecilie Kern delivered our joint statement on behalf of both organizations.

 

Read the statement GCM Thematic Session 3 – Informal Stakeholder Dialogue Statement Final

Some snippets:    …vital to maximizing the positive benefits of migration and reducing vulnerabilities for people on the move.    …policies are human rights-based, and therefore universal, and applicable to all migrants, regardless of status.  …border management policies must be human rights-based and gender and age-sensitive. Authorities, including border agents, police, military and other security forces, must be held accountable for human rights violations, including exploitation and corruption.  … provide all migrant women workers with safe, orderly and regular channels for migration that guarantee human rights, full labor rights and social protection for them and their families … Families should never be separated by policy enforcement, and children, including unaccompanied and separated children, should never be placed into detention or criminalized for their migratory status or that of their parents …

Congratulations Cecilie and Colleen – well done!   Today is ….

Refugee Day

Sunday, December 18 International Migrants Day

In the liturgy of Advent from December 17 to 24 we pray the O Antiphons – biblical expressions of longing for the coming of God.  I invite you today to joint in solidarity with our sisters and brothers who are migrants and refugees throughout the world praying ‘come to our rescue.’ In the O Antiphons for today there is reference to Moses, the one who rescued the people when they were slaves in Egypt.   Read Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s reflection for the day.   Secretary-General Tells States to Mark International Migrants Day by Rejecting Intolerance, Discrimination, Xenophobic Rhetoric.

ban_ki-moon_portraitSome quotes from Secretary General  ‘to add insult to injury, we have witnessed the rise of populist movements that seek to alienate and expel migrants and refugees and to blame them for various ills of society.

Yet, within this turbulence, we also find rays of hope, with concerned citizens and communities opening their arms and hearts. We have also seen a promising international response, culminating with the New York Declaration adopted in September at the United Nations Summit for Refugees and Migrants. It is now crucial that Governments honour and build on their commitments to govern large movements of refugees and migrants in a way that is compassionate, people-centred, gender-responsive and rooted in fundamental human rights.’  

The bold print is mine for emphasis.  This parallels our Congregational Direction Statement ‘As mission partners (lay and sisters) we struggled to find a way to address global issues. We identified as the most pressing needs of today as poverty, human trafficking, migration, refugees, gender inequality, violence against women and children and religious intolerance.   Being the ‘Moses/Miriam’ leader is indeed happening in our Congregation.  See this article from Lebanon  Solidarity in Action or this video from the Philippines Buhay na Ganap -subtitles in English)

Secretary General continues ‘Every migrant is a human being with human rights. Protecting and upholding the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all migrants, regardless of their status, is a foundational element of the New York Declaration.’   “The motto of the dispensary in the words of the director, Antoinette Assaff, RGS in Lebanon is “Religion is for God. The dispensary is for everybody.”

Secretary General calls for a sustainable response to migration needs to address the drivers of forced and precarious movements of people. These include poverty, food insecurity, armed conflict, natural disasters, climate change and environmental degradation, poor governance, persistent inequalities and violations of economic, social, civil, political or cultural rights.’

The vision of Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is of a ‘world of peace, prosperity, dignity and opportunity for all.’  This is our vision too!

Oped_OHCHR_Al_Hussein_300x200The High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid is unrelenting in his call for human rights of all migrants and refugees. “On the occasion of International Migrants Day, 18 December, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is featuring the following stories to highlight the Office’s work to safeguard and promote the human rights of migrants and refugees. More people than ever are on the move and the challenges raised by large-scale movements of refugees and migrants fuel our call for a renewed global commitment to uphold and protect the human rights, safety and dignity of migrants and refugees.  Read more  including spotlight on human rights of migrants in wake of Calais camp eviction.

On December 10th The Human Rights Commissioner called on everyone to “Stand up for someone’s rights today”  Let us stand up for the rights of all migrants and refugees as we pray ‘come to our rescue.’

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Berta Cáceres, assassinated in Honduras on March 2nd

Terrible news from Honduras regarding human rights defender, Berta Caceres. We will keep her in our thoughts and prayers. She is a victim of what we call the Extractives Development Model–the nexus of unscrupulous business, corrupt government and the devastating extractives industry. (Rosa Lizarde)

BertaWe are shocked and saddened to learn of the assassination of Honduran environmental activist and indigenous leader of the Lenca people, Berta Cáceres.

Berta Cáceres’ faithful leadership of the Council of Indigenous Peoples of Honduras (COPINH) reflected not only her dedication to nonviolent resistance to illegal logging and mega-projects that devastate the environment but also her deeply felt belief in the rights of indigenous communities to their land and livelihoods.  Maryknoll

Photo: Berta Caceres, courtesy of the Goldman Environmental Prize.

Berta Caceres  (You Tube) Berta Cáceres, galadornada del Premio Goldman 2015, Honduras