Reappraisal of the UN Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Person September 27 and 28, 2017 at the United Nations, NY.

Trafficking in Person is an important issues to be reviewed with an appraisal of  the Global Plan of Action on September 27 and 28, 2017.  This is a high level meeting over two days following the opening of the 72nd Session of the United Nations under

Screen Shot 2017-09-13 at 4.45.29 PMthe new President of the General Assembly, His Excellency Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, (Slovakia).  The new President has outlined his vision and priorities under five headings – peace, migration, sustainable planet, human dignity and modern UN.

In September 2018 we will have the adoption of the the Global Compact on Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees.  Consultations continue with the last consultation to be held in Geneva on October 12, and 13.  Concurrently regional consultation are being held.  The intergovernmental negotiations will commence soon.  The website is very informative and updated.

Preparation for the appraisal of the Global Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons has been on going over a number of month and culminated with a  Political Declaration which will be adopted on September 27th.   A full list of document and a report on the stakeholder meeting held on June 23rd can be accessed HERE

Many NGO’s attended the Stakeholders meeting on June 23rd.  The NGO Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons had prepared the CSTIP Advocacy Doc for Global Plan of Action.

The Political Declaration proposes to be strong using language such as ‘evince our strong political will to take decisive concerted action to end this heinous crime,…’  While there is reference to the integrated and indivisible nature of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and a reference to combating all forms of trafficking in person,  Good Shepherd advocacy is a clear call for specifically referencing the three targets where trafficking in person is mentioned in the 2030 Agenda – target 5.2 (on trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation), target 8.7 (forced labor and child labor) and 16.2 (all forms of trafficking in children) to be given equal priority.

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We are concerned that the trafficking of women and girls under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 5.2 is falling under the radar for both Member States and the United Nations. For example, the recent High Level Political Forum reviewing SDG 5 made no reference to sex trafficking even though Target 5.2 specifically outlines the need to address the trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and girls.  Check out blog post of July 5   While various forms of violence were mentioned under 5.2 human trafficking was not. 

ViennaThis same point I made during the  Thematic Session in Vienna September 4 and 5 ‘Smuggling of migrants, trafficking in persons and contemporary forms of slavery, including appropriate identification, protection and assistance to migrant and trafficking victims.’ Read the full  Statement 5th Thematic Consultation on the Global Compact on Migration

Below are three powerpoint with up to date information on human trafficking.

Global Plan of Action Slides English

Global Plan of Action Slides French

Global Plan of Action Slides Spanish

 

 

 

Migration in Focus

On Monday and Tuesday, May 22nd and 23rd at the UN in New York, we had the second thematic session on “Addressing drivers of migration, including adverse effects of climate change, natural disasters and human-made crises, through protection and assistance, sustainable development, poverty eradication, conflict prevention and resolution.”  Good Shepherd was substantively engaged in this session.  Winifred was invited to be a respondent following the first panel presentation.  Cecilie made a statement during the informal dialogue with the co-facilitators – the Ambassadors from Mexico and Switzerland to the United Nations.

Migration Winifred  Response to panel 1 on Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication:   English  Espanol

Winifred towards the end around marker 2:49   Webcast

Migation CecilieStatement during the informal dialogue with co-facilitators   English  Espanol

An issue brief for this two day session was issued ahead of the session.  It is a document well worth reading …Issue Brief #2  but only available in English. There is a Spanish and French version of the official website but not all document and events are covered there Official Website

The first thematic session was held in Geneva and addressed the human rights of all migrants.  The thematic sessions prepare the way for an inter-governmentally negotiated agreement, prepared under the auspices of the United Nations to cover all dimension of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner. This is the sort of information that we wished we had when attending our congregational chapter.  In actual fact 2 compacts are being negotiated, the second is on Refugees.  These are specific responses to the UN Summit of September 19th 2016 when a declaration was adopted expressing the political will  of world leaders to save lives, protect rights and share responsibility on a global scale.  The Declaration is referred to as the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants.  It is available in the 6 languages of the UN  HERE

The series of 6 informal thematic session will gather substantive input and concrete recommendations to inform the development of the global compact on migration. The next session is in Geneva  June 19th and 20th on  ‘international cooperation and governance of migration in all its dimensions, including at borders, on transit, entry, return, readmission, integration and reintegration.’ Cecile from NY will attend and will travel to Berlin for the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) June 28th to 30th.  Sr Mary Magdalena Z. Saavedra, from the Philippines has been invited to Berlin for this session of the GFMD.  If you remember she attended previous one in Dakar with Theresa Symons.

The 4th, 5th and 6th informal thematic sessions are in New York, Vienna and Geneva respectively. See more  I hope to attend the session in Vienna addressing human trafficking in early September.

I wish to express thanks to Magdalena, Theresa Symons, Clare Nolan, Marta Iris. Georgette Tannoury and Cristina Duranti for their collaboration in preparing for ‘Good Shepherd’ responses for the 2nd Thematic Session.   This is what we need – more input from the grassroots.  You can send an email or just make your comments at the bottom of this article.

Lastly you can get a flavour of the thematic sessions as recordings of the live webcast are available.  Unfortunately the informal dialogue with the co-facilitators was not webcast.   Link to Webcast sessions

The 4th Session  presents a summary of the previous panels – do listen to the thematic expert Binod Khadria around marker 28th …  wish list, reinventing the wheel and action orientated approaches.

 

Follow up on Global Forum on Migration and Development

On this International Migrants Day I am sharing the report of Theresa Symons and Magdalena Saavedra.  There is a call to action for Good Shepherds around the world. How are you going to respond?  Share your ideas in the comments box.

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Good Shepherd Representatives at the GFMD

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Sr. Magdalena Saavedra from the Centre of Overseas Workers, Davao, Philippines and Theresa Symons from MDO Asia Pacific, represented Good Shepherd at the recent Civil Society Programme for Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) held in Dhaka, Bangladesh from 8-9 December.  There were about 300 participants at the civil society forum.

This was followed by Common Space between civil society and governments on 9 December and the GFMD Summit for governments from 10-12 December.

Focus of the civil society forum

The theme for civil society programme was “Time for Action: Doing rights-based governance of migration and development in our communities and across borders.”

Robust discussions were held at the plenary debates and parallel working sessions which focused on four action-oriented themes:

  • Doing protection of migrant workers
  • Doing protection of migrant on the move
  • Doing inclusive development
  • Doing global governance better

Outcome recommendations broadly centered around various ways of implementing people-centered, needs first, rights-based policies on migration and human development; with civil society working with governments and businesses.

The recommendations will influence the development of a governance framework on migration called the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, Regular Migration, which is expected to be finalized by 2018 to be adopted by UN member states.

Our learning experiences

Magdalena and Theresa shared that it was a privilege for them to attend the civil society forum.  It was an opportunity to network with participants coming from different organizations, engage in conversations on good practices, listen to different perspectives on migration and learn about issues affecting migrants in other countries.

These are some of their insights and reflections in relation to the Good Shepherd Congregation:

  • Good Shepherd worldwide have extensive grassroots activities in sending as well as host countries. We play critical roles in educating and empowering our program participants on the rights of migrants
  • It is not enough to just be doing grassroots activities on migration. It is also important to have a working knowledge of policies, statements and guidelines on migration so that we can shape our programs to influence systemic changes locally, regionally and globally.
  • The needs of migrants have evolved in complexity which cannot be addressed by a sole organization. To increase our effectiveness in mission, we need to network and collaborate across borders as Good Shepherd agencies and with other NGOs, faith based groups, civil society organizations, governments and businesses.
  • A large bulk of migrants (regular and irregular) are women and children, it is a must for the Congregation to strengthen its response to the plight of the migrants in the local, regional and global level. As an international Congregation, more concrete and collective action has to be done (pro-active response to our broad directions).

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Links to the following important websites related to the GFMD:

  1.  Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) http://www.gfmd.org
  2. GFMD  Civil Society Days MADE Migration and Development Civil Society Network 
  3. The New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants  New York Declaration in 6 languages
  4. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Sustainable Development Goals

In the picture our representatives with Eva Richter from NGO Committee on Migration in New York.       (Submitted by Theresa and Magdalena)

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With some of the participants and Undersecretary Ambassador Jose S. Brillantes Chairman of the UN Committee on Migrant Workers,  Pathma Krishnan Regional Coordinator of Education International-Asia Pacific, Theresa Symons Good Shepherd Congregation MDO-Asia Pacific, Mel Nuqui of Dawn – Executive Director (courtesy of Magdalena)

 

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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Global Forum on Migration and Development – Invitation to send your ideas to Good Shepherd Representatives attending the forum by writing in the Leave a Reply box below.

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Global Forum on Migration and Development  will take place in Dhaka, Bangladesh on December 10th – 12th  and is preceded by 2 civil society days, Thursday and Friday December 8th and 9th.  Good Shepherd will be represented by  Sr Maria Magdalena Z. Saavedra from the Philippinies and Ms Theresa Symons, Regional Manager,  Mission Development Office Asia Pacific. (Malaysia)

Both women are accomplished and experts in the fields of Migration and Human Trafficking and bring this expertize and insight to the Global Forum on Migration and Development on behalf of ‘Good Shepherd.’  Magdalena is with Religious of the Good Shepherd – Center for Overseas Workers (RGS-COW) in Davao, Philippines. Read about RGS-COW    Theresa in her own words ‘bringing broad and deep experience to a new regional role‘ within the Mission Development Office.

The concept_paper_gfmd_2016_civil_society_programme_final en-1 provides good information as to what will be happening in Dhaka.  The background to the GFMD can be found at the bottom of page 1 and top of page 2 from the UN perspective.  The overall theme is “Migration that works for Sustainable Development for All: Towards a Transformative Migration Agenda”

The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein made this statement on September 19, 2016 and I quote the following ‘A human rights-based migration governance framework should include attention to addressing the drivers of precarious migration, such as climate change and extreme poverty.  It should ensure due attention to saving lives in transit and ensuring human rights at borders. It should enhance safe and regular pathways to entry. Measures should be taken which provide specific protection of the rights of migrants, and would include measures  to decriminalize irregular migration and to regularize the status of irregular migrants.  And it should seek to collect disaggregated data on the human rights situation of migrants, including specific data on migrants killed, injured, or victims of crime while attempting to cross maritime, land or air borders.” These outline some of the critical  issues.  How does this compare with our gs_position_on_migration?  The 30th Congregational Chapter and the  Direction Statement expressed deep concern about refugees and migrants.  One recommendation was ‘that the CLT establish working groups to develop corporate responses to issues of global importance.’  Migration today is one of these issues.  We have two representatives attending.  The theme of the civil society days is  “Time for Action: Doing rights-based governance of migration and development in our communities and across borders”

On November 25th  U.N. Says 2016 Will Be Deadliest Year Ever For Migrants Crossing The Mediterranean  What is your response?  What questions do you want our representative to ask?  What change do you wish to see?

For further information see my blog posts of September 13, 16, and 19, 2016

 

In solidarity with our Mission Partners in Syria and Lebanon – English/Spanish/French

georgette-2These days at the United Nations we are discussing much about the situation of Refugees and Migrants in preparation for the High Level Summit for Refugees and Migrants taking place on 19 September, 2016.  I want to ask you to join me in solidarity with our sisters and mission partners in Syria and Lebanon in what is a desperate situation for them and their people.  Sr. Georgette Tannoury, our NGO Regional Designate for ESCWA (Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia) prepared the following Powerpoint. Let us be in solidarity with them and indeed with all refugee and migrant peoples throughout the world.   Open Powerpoint

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En estos días, en las Naciones Unidas, estamos discutiendo mucho sobre la situación de los Refugiados y de los Migrantes en preparación para la Cumbre de Alto Nivel que se llevará a cabo el 19 de septiembre de 2016.  Deseo pedirles que se unan a mí en la solidaridad con nuestras hermanas y compañeras de misión en Siria y Líbano en lo que es una situación desesperada para ellas y su gente.  La Hna Goergette Tannoury, designada regional de nuestra ONG para la CESPAO (Comisión Económica y Social para Asia Occidental) preparó el Powerpoint que sigue. Tomemos posición junto a ellas y, por supuesto, con todas las personas refugiadas y migrantes en todo el mundo.        Abra Powerpoint

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Ces jours-ci à l’ONU nous discutons beaucoup sur la situation des réfugiés et des migrants pendant la préparation du Sommet de haut niveau pour les réfugiés et migrants qui a lieu le 19 Septembre 2016. Je veux vous demander de vous joindre à moi, en solidarité avec nos sœurs et partenaires de la mission en Syrie et au Liban, dans ce qui est une situation désespérée pour eux et leur peuple. Sr Georgette Tannoury, notre désignée régionale ONG pour la CESAO (Commission économique et sociale pour l’Asie occidentale) a préparé le Powerpoint suivant. Soyons solidaires avec eux, avec tous les réfugiés et populations migrantes dans le monde entier.   Ouvrez Powerpoint

 

 

Girls Ambassadors from Ireland share their stories and experiences #childrenfirst

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Minahil and Natasha from Zimbabwe and Pakistan  shared their experiences and called for action.  Minahil and Natsha  arrived in Ireland some years ago and are passionate advocates for refugee children around the world. Listen to the interview.

They also spoke at the Vigil on Sunday evening.

Good Friends and ardent child activists were present.  Captured in the crowd was Leymah Gbowee who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for her work in leading a women’s peace movement that brought an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003.   She addressed the people gathered towards the end of the vigil.