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

Interesting Articles Featuring Winifred at the UN

IMG_1549.jpgJeanette Mc Dermott, Communications, Sisters of the Good Shepherd, Province of the Mid North, USA recently spent two weeks in New York following the work of Winifred Doherty as the NGO representative on behalf of the Congregation.  Read her article in  Items of Interest-March 2016

Catholic Ireland featured an article on Sisters speak out against trafficking at the UN

Aine, Angela and Me Fein 2

 Aine, Angela and Winifred

A third article related to this time period is a summary of the side event Maisha – A New Life outside the Mines which was held durn the Commission for Social Development on February 4, 2016. Report on Side Event Feb 4 2016

A quote from the Universal Declaration on Human Rights – Article 25 on the right of everyone to a standard of living adequate for health and well being – linking with the rights to Social Protection for everyone.


A New Resource – Handbook

A new resource, a hand book for implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights has been published.  Since I came to the GSIJP Office in 2008 you in the networks have been engaged in collecting information for the then Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights – Magdalena Sepuleveda (2008 – 2014) The Handbook has been published by ATD 4th World and Franciscan International and is available in French, English and Spanish

The book is in four parts:  Part 1 – The basics;  Part 2 – Key principles for engaging with people living in poverty; Part 3 – Empowering people in extreme poverty to claim their rights; Part 4 – Monitoring and ensuring accountability.

This handbook will be very helpful to you in your various ministries with people living in poverty.  It is a human rights perspective and suggests actions that can be taken with local government and other sectors of society to ensure that rights are respected and protected.  The focus is on the barriers that prevent people living in poverty from enjoying many fundamental rights such as the right to food and nutrition, housing, work, heath and education.  These are the subject matter of the new Sustainable Development Goals that came into force throughout the world on January 1, 2016

There you’ll also find links to the introductory video with subtitles in English, French, Spanish, and German HERE

Pilot implementations/trainings are being explored in 6 countries, tentatively: Benin, Kenya, India, Philippines, Argentina, Bolivia.  If you want to be part of these implementations/training let me know.

Chapter logo30th Congregational Chapter Direction Statement “In response to the most pressing needs of today such as poverty … we commit ourselves, on unit, regional and congregational levels, to: Develop clear strategic plans integrating spirituality and justice and peace with the best ministry practices.  This includes holding ourselves accountable to monitor and evaluate the results.   See Part 4 Monitoring and ensuring accountability.  This Handbook is an excellent resource, making human rights work for people living in extreme poverty, bringing about structural and systemic change.

Making Human Rights Work

English, Spanish, French

downloadGoal 2E_SDG_Icons-03   E_SDG_Icons-05

E_SDG_Icons-08   E_SDG_Icons-04

Good Shepherd orange countries around the world

Good Shepherd Sisters and Mission Partners orange countries around the world.  They not only orange for one day but they work tirelessly for 365 days addressing and ending gender based violence through service provision, awareness and ensuring that ‘no girl or woman is left behind.’

Review the public service announcement ‘Behind Closed Doors’ created in Malaysia in English, Tamil, Malay, Chinese.  See here

Visit their Facebook page and see groups from Kuala Lumpur, to Sabah to Ipoh – Malaysia on Facebook

Malaysia   Orange The World in YouthPREP Centre, Sabah

Close by in Thailand 1000’s  are engaged – Read moreSisters Thailand

Thaniland 2

Thailand 3

See Sutisa Utalun’s Facebook page for more news  Great displays of color and men and boys are engaged!

Mercy Sisters International had an event on Monday November 23rd at the UN, NY to mark the 16 days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence. It was facilitated by Angela Reed from Australia who had done a study on trafficked women and girls in the Philippines.  Flyer advertising the event The link to some photographs from the event

Are you following us on our new Facebook Page Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd- Justice  Peace  Facebook  and Twitter Account @gsijp

Malaysian Rally ‘Bersih New York 4.0 Saturday August 29, 2015

An invitation for the Sisters and Mission Partners in Malaysia asked for representation at a rally to be held in New York this Saturday from 2.00 – 4.00 p.m. in the Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza at 47th Street and 2nd Avenue.  This rally was to call attention to the lack of democratic governance in Malaysia.  Some of the banners outline very succinctly the asks of the rally.  As I made my way there I met ‘yellow t-shirted’ young people ready to help and give directions.  The weather in New York was perfect for the rally.  A good spirit prevailed as some groups signed banners, others chanted, others were photographed with their signs.  Many young people were present and some children too!  We walked from 47th Street to 43rd Street along First Avenue opposite the United Nations.  Only the UN Flag was flying.  The call for true democracy was clear.  The backdrop was a verse from Isaiah  written in stone “the nations shall learn war no more…”

Bersih4 1 Bersih4 2 Bersih4 3 Bersih4 4 Bersih4 5 Bersih4 6 Bersih4 7 Bersih4 8 Bersih4 9 Bersih4 10 Bersih4 11 Bersih4 12 Bersih4 14 Bersih4 15 Bersih4 16 Bersih4 17CNmbhLTWgAACudt

See Twitter handle @winifreddoherty

25th June End Violence Against Women Campaign – Orange Day!

unnamedThe theme for this months awareness is about reversing the funding shortfall for initiatives to prevent and end violence against women and girls!  From July 13-16 the Third International Conference Financing for Development will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  It will be preceded by a two day civil society forum.  A very concrete action is to find out if your government is participating in the Conference on Financing for Development.  What position will your government take?  Has your government  a position with regard to funding gender equality and women’s and girls empowerment?

AWID (Association for Women’s Rights in Development) have published a study ‘New Actors, New Money, New Conversations.’ Full Report Here  You may find this an interesting report …. It is 52 pages divided into 4 main headings – Research Findings; How is Support being Disbursed?; Examples of Partnership Involving Women’s Organizations and Funds and Current Challenges and Opportunities for Leveraging Resources for Women’s Rights Organizations.  Pages 47 – 50 online some opportunities for new conversations.

There are eight core propositions – gender power structures and substructures; change requires women’s collective action and power; transformative change with a full compliment of rights – civil, political, economic, social and cultural; gender equality cannot be left to be brought about by market forces; the role of new actors in development cannot be ignored; the fruits of transformative change cannot be taken for granted, but must be defended, preserved and sustained; resources are needed for change; and mobilization of resources for women’s rights organizing is a collective responsibility.

Some quotations from the June 19th Addis Ababa Accord of the Third International Conference Financing for Development on gender inclusion.  Is this enough for Gender Justice?  Economic growth appears in paragraph 1 – sounds like business as usual to me.

Paragraph 1 … Our goal is to end poverty and hunger, and to achieve sustainable development in its three dimensions through promoting inclusive economic growth, protecting the environment, and promoting social inclusion. We commit to respect all human rights, including the right to development. We will ensure gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment.

Paragraph 6  We reaffirm that achieving gender equality, empowering all women and girls, and the full realization of their human rights are essential to achieving sustained, inclusive, and equitable economic growth and sustainable development. We reiterate the need for gender mainstreaming, including targeted actions and investments in the formulation and implementation of all financial, economic, environmental and social policies. We commit to implement transformative policy actions to ensure women’s equal rights, access and opportunities for participation and leadership in the economy.

Paragraph 20   Evidence shows that gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s full and equal participation and leadership in the economy are vital to achieve sustainable development and significantly enhance economic growth and productivity. We recommit to adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels, and to eliminate gender-based violence and discrimination all its form. We also commit to promote social inclusion in our domestic policies. We will promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws, social infrastructure and policies for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels, to enable women’s full and equal participation in the economy, as well as their equal access to decision making processes and leadership.

Paragraph 29  … promote gender sensitive budgeting and tracking.

Paragraph 36  … We will work towards harmonizing the various initiatives on sustainable business and financing, identifying gaps, including in relation to gender equality, and strengthening the mechanisms and incentives for compliance.

Paragraph 40   … We further encourage the private sector to contribute to advancing gender equality through striving to ensure women’s full and productive employment and decent work, equal pay for work of equal value, and equal opportunities, as well as protecting them against discrimination and abuse in the workplace. We support the UN Global Compact’s Women Empowerment Principles and encourage increased investments in female-owned companies or businesses.

Paragraph 67    … We welcome efforts by new development banks to develop safeguard systems in open consultation with stakeholders, and encourage all new and existing development banks to establish or maintain social and environmental safeguards systems, including on human rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment, that are transparent, effective, efficient, and time-sensitive.

We are well aware of the feminization of poverty so what is said of eradicating poverty and implementing social protection floors?  This is what your government is committing to if they attend the conference in Addis Ababa?  Will it make a difference in your country?

Paragraph 12   Delivering social protection and essential public services for all: To end poverty in all its forms everywhere and finish the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), we commit to a new social compact. In this effort, we will provide fiscally sustainable and nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, with a focus on those furthest below the poverty line and the vulnerable. We also encourage countries to consider setting nationally appropriate spending targets for quality investments in essential public services for all, including health, education, energy, water and sanitation, consistent with national sustainable development strategies. We will make every effort to meet the needs of all communities through delivering high quality services that make effective use of resources. We commit to commensurate international support for these efforts, and will explore the most effective, efficient and coherent funding modalities to mobilize additional resources, building on country-led experiences.


International Human Rights Day December 10

Human Rights Day

‘Human rights matter every day for everyone, everywhere’

In his traditional message for the Day, UN Human Rights Chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, highlighted the first words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by virtually all UN Member States on 10 December 1948, more than sixty years ago: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”Read the full text here

On December 1st the High Commissioner Prince Zeid wrote an op-ed  ‘Stand in Solidarity with Courageous Women’s Human Rights Defenders.’ In this op-ed , he discusses achievements and gaps in guaranteeing equal rights for all and stresses the importance and courage of women human rights defenders, and the challenges they face. OHCHR will begin a new campaign on Human Rights Day, 10 December, to galvanize recognition for human rights advocates. – . The campaign runs from Human Rights Day, 10 December this year, to International Women’s Day, 8 March 2015.  We encourage everyone to join the ranks of these strong and inspiring advocates, on social media (#reflect2protect) and on the ground.   Read more


Youth Symposium in Rome on Prostitution and Human Trafficking.

The title of the 2 day symposium to be held on November 15 and 16 is ‘young people against prostitution and human trafficking: the greatest violence against human beings’  This Symposium is taking place in the Vatican and being hosted by Pope Francis.   I am very happy to let you know that Good Shepherd have two youth attending the Symposium – one from Malaysia and one from Taiwan.  Here is the link to the 34 page booklet.   Pages 3 and 4 presents the context in which the Symposium is taking place. Pages 7,8,9 and 10 outline the program for the two days.  Pages 11 to 22 provides the bios of the various speakers and 23 to the end are names of the observers

On page 11 you are introduced to Mary Anne Balthazar from Sabah, Malaysia and on page 17 you will learn about Joseph Loh from Taiwan.  It is certainly a tribute to the work of Good Shepherd in both Malaysia and Taiwan that Anne and Joseph have been selected as presenters.

Ann Marie       Joseph


Congratulations Anne and Joseph.  Be assured that we are all praying for you and cheering for you too!  Anne will present on at 11.30 on November 16th ‘Youth for Youth Against Human Trafficking – The Sabah Saga’ and Joseph will presented at 18.00 hours ‘Prevention of Human Trafficking in Taiwan.’

The topics are very broad and cover multiple aspects of human trafficking.   In reviewing the list of presenters I wish you to note that Good Shepherd are present in Ireland, (Ruth Kilcullen);  Kenya (Winnie Mutevu);  Spain, (Alejandra Scelles Torres);  Albania (Olivia Conroy);  Cambodia have two presentation ( Pisey Khim and Phirum Sary); and  Bolivia (Ana Paola Garcia Villagomez).

Marie Helene Halligon who attended the conference on Human Trafficking in November 2013 has been active in RENATE Europe and has encouraged youth to attend.  I am encouraging  two young people from Europe:  Andrea, who, I think represents her Hungarian NGO “ergo”. I was in contact with “ergo” during my staying in Hungary last September.  And Constance, who is a volunteer with Caritas Europe GS is part of in the “Collectif_contre_la_Traite”.   These two young women know GS only because of my contact as GS with their network.

AndreaAndrea Klemencsics    Age: 24   Profession: juriste (lawyer)     Petite présentation: Je suis diplômée de l’Université Catholique Péter Pàzmàny. J’ai écrit mon mémoire de l’esclavage moderne. En 2012 en cadre de programme Erasmus, j’ai étudié l’Université Catolique de Lille. A l’Université j’ai commencé un recherche avec mes professeurs français et hongrois. En 2012, j’ ai passé 6 mois à Lille, j’ai fait le stage chez Mouvement du NID. (prostitution, traite des êtres humains) Actuellement, je poursuis mes études doctorales à l’Université Catholique Péter Pàzmàny. Parallèlement, je suis membre de l’Association d’ERGO et de l’Association d’Ars Boni. (la revue juridique qui est éditée par les jeunes juristes)   Actuellement, je suis à Paris et je fais un stage à Fondation Robert Schuman en cadre de bourse.

Constance MAZARD, born in Montauban, France, on January 28, 1986 (28 years old).   Volunteer at Secours Catholique – CMCaritas France, is active in the struggle against human trafficking.    During her studies of law and political sciences, she used to take part in several activities with the catholic church. These activities included spending a month at an orphanage in India, taking care of children with sever physical and mental problems, taking care of the elderly in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, and spending a year in a Vietnamese catholic monastery teaching English to the Monks.
Through those experiences, she has learned a lot about human rights and the terrible situation of those living of the most impoverished conditions.   She was then involved in the struggle against human trafficking with the Collective « Together against the human trafficking » which gathers 23 charity organizations in France, coordinated by the Secours Catholique.     Website   (english and french)

We congratulate youth on all their accomplishments in this area.