Migration – 3rd Thematic Session on International Cooperation

June 19 and 20 at the UN in Geneva the 3rd Thematic Session on Migration is in progress.  The theme is ‘International cooperation and governance of migration in all its dimensions, including at borders, on transit, entry, return, readmission, integration and reintegration.’  The GSIJP Office is represented by Cecilie Kern.  She is accompanied by Colleen Cloonan of the Mercy Global Action at the UN.   Cecilie will delver a joint statement on behalf of both organizations.  The statement is a response to the Issues Brief #3 and supplemented by  experiences from Theresa Symons (MDO Office – Asia Pacific), Magdalena Saavedra from the Philippines and Mercy Global Action office at the UN.

Clare Nolan did an article for Global Sisters Report  in January 2017 based on the experiences of Theresa and Magdalena following the Global Forum on Migration in Dhaka, Bangledesh.

Colleen Cloonan, Cecilie Kern and Winifred Doherty 

Tomorrow June 20th is World Refugee Day 2017.  A separate compact is being prepared to address the issue of Refugees.  Read this article  “Crisis in South Sudan, world’s fastest growing refugee emergency.”

We express appreciation to Sr Regina Hanko of the Province of Austria-Switzerland and Czech Republic for preparing the prayer this month.   English  French and Spanish     See more at Spanish French and English

Here is another prayer in English that has come in my e-mail –  World Refugee Day 2017 Prayer Service

According to the United Nation there are an estimated 58 million people displaced worldwide, 2.3 million asylum seekers, and 34 million people have been forcibly displaced within their own countries. António Guterres announced “These truly are alarming numbers. They reflect individual suffering on a huge scale and they reflect the difficulties of the international community in preventing conflicts and promoting timely solutions for them. The time is NOW to show that the global public stands with refugees.” (Facts and figures: UNHCR assessed April 2016) Taken from the prayer service prepared by ‘Becoming Neighours, Toronto’  See more  

 

Reviewing the Agreed Conclusions of CSW 61

I was invited to do this for the NGOCSW Committee one month ago – it has taken so long to get around to posting it.  The reason whey it is surfacing again is that the NGO Committee on the Rights of the Child have invited me tomorrow to share the same reflection with them.  The key issues addressed in CSW61 can be gleaned from this graphic on the UN Women Website and interspersed throughout the analysis of Ms. Lakshmi Puri, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women.  The link is below.Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 8.22.00 PM

Agreed Conclusion of CSW 61 is a lengthy document and can be accessed HERE in English, Spanish, French and Arabic.   An understanding of the document and some key elements for Good Shepherd may be had from the analysis Here or a direct link Analysis of Agreed Conclusions of CSW61

Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 8.44.22 PM

Link to the WEBCAST

Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 8.48.55 PM

A fuller document is presented by Ms. Lakshmi Puri, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women Report of CSW 61 and Analysis of the Agreed Conclusion

 

 

What was achieved at CSW 61?

CSW61_ClosingSession_Mar2017__RB_0460_675x450 (002)(Closing of the 61st session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women.                   Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown)

UN Women sees the Agreed Conclusion as a Roadmap to women’s full and equal participation in the economy Press Release

The Commission on the Status of Women 61st session ended on Friday afternoon March 24th with Agreed Conclusion – a consensus document on ‘Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work.’ This in itself is an achievement.  The document is not yet published and was presented on Friday as an informal paper in English only. The negotiation of this document is an arduous work (the Australian delegated noted it was 107 hours of discussion) and its accomplishment is the result of long hours of discussion and negotiation, into the early hours of the morning each day of the second week.  A good overview of the situation can be had by listening to the UN TV  Webcast of the closing session.  It is about one and a half hours.  By listening to the webcast you will see how issues that affect  women and girls is highly political and fraught with all sorts of qualifications captured in the phrases such as according to ‘national laws’; ‘social norms’ does not enjoy global consensus   …. and the terms ‘sexuality’ is not acknowledged in national law or jurisdiction by a large number of member states nor in International law; express reservations on all principles that are not in accordance with the spirit of Islamic law. Another expression was that anything in the text of the agreed conclusion not in line with national laws is null and void and not applicable.  The Australian delegate noted that the discussion and link between SRHR and economic empowerment was profitable in coming to a process of understanding.  The Holy See interpreted the concept of ‘gender’ as being grounded in a person’s male or female biological sex, not in social constructions

The EU was largely disappointed with the outcome which it saw as an interpretation of the outcome rather than an negotiated outcome. Three issues were noted – limiting of the  space of CSO’s and NGO’s; the link between women’s economic empowerment and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) could be stronger by better references to the human rights component essential to gender equality; and emphasis on national policy space limited ambition and some language reflects the stereotypical role of women and girls and does not contribute to their empowerment and independence.  Despite this the EU will continue to work more to build consensus.

Here is the link to the US explanation of Position on Agreed Conclusions at the 2017 UN Commission on the Status of Women.

The person who chaired the negotiations is Ms. Fatma Al Zahraa Hassan (Egypt), Vice-Chair (African States Group)   In her address she mentioned the main pillars towards women’s economic empowerment – education, legal measures, socio-economic measures, giving voice to women, achieving financial independence.  The document is 20 pages long and will be published in all 6 languages of the United Nations.  Seven pages use the following words to introduce paragraphs: reaffirms (6 times), reiterates, (2) recognizes, (16) emphasizes, acknowledges, (3) takes note, strongly condemns, expresses it concern, (5) reiterates its concern, recalls, (2) welcomes, and urges.

Reaffirms – the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action; implementing the Beijing Declaration and Platform for action will make a crucial contribution to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to women’s economic empowerment; commitments to gender equality and the empowernment of all  women and girls made at relevant UN summits and conferences; that the promotion and protection of, and respect for, the human rights and fundamental freedom of all women and girls,  including the right to development , which are universal, indivisible, interdependent and iterated, are crucial for women’s economic empowerment…; that the realization of the right to education, as well as to access to quality and inclusive education, contributes to the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls; the importance of significant increased investment to close resource gaps for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and and girls.

Strongly condemens – violence against women and girls in all its forms in public and private spaces, including harassment in the world of work, including sexual harassment, and sexual and gender based violence, domestic violence, trafficking in persons and femicide, among others, as well as harmful practices such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation, and recognizes these are major impediments to the achievement of women’s economic empowerment, social and economic development…

Expresses it’s concern – about the continuing significant gender gaps on labour force participation and leadership, wages, income, pension and social protection and access to economic and productive resources; structural barriers  including discriminatory laws and policies, gender stereotypes and negative social norms, unequal working conditions as well as about the growing high incidence of informal and non-standard forms of employment in many regions; occupational segregation; that the feminization of poverty persists; over the persistently low wages earned by women workers;

Reiterates it’s concern – over the challenge climate change poses to the achievement of sustainable development and that women and girls are often disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change.

The document is divided into the following sections:

  • Strengthening normative and legal frameworks
  • Strengthening education, training and skill development
  • Implementing economic and social policies for women’s economic empowerment
  • Addressing the growing informality of work and mobility of women workers
  • Managing technological and digital change for women’s economic empowerment
  • Strengthening women’s collective voice, leadership and decision making
  • Strengthening private sector role in women’s economic empowerment

The text was revised a number of time in the lead up to the opening of CSW 61 and during the formal negotiations of the two weeks.  In the initial text presented by the CSW61 Bureau there was a strong call for implementation of national floors of social protection – here is the reference:    (m) Establish universal social protection floors, in line with ILO Social Protection Floors recommendation, 2012 (No. 202), as part of national social protection systems to ensure access to social protection for all, including workers outside the formal economy, and progressively achieve higher levels of protection in line with ILO social security standards; (Based on E/CN.6/2017/3, para 49 (o))”  but this reference to ILO R 202 has not remained in the final version.

There are a number of references to social protection systems, social protection and pensions, social protection policies and in one instance including floors and ‘extending social protection and wages that allow for an adequate standard of living’… ‘without reductions in labour and social protections.’

w. Optimize fiscal expenditure for gender-responsive social protection and care infrastructure, such as equitable, quality, accessible and affordable early childhood education, child care, elder care, heath care, care and social services for persons with disabilities and persons living with HIV and AIDS, which meet the needs of both caregivers and those in need of care, hearing in mind that social protection policies play a critical role in reducing poverty and inequality, supporting inclusive growth and gender equality;

x.  Work towards establishing or strengthening inclusive and gender-responsive social protection systems, including floors, to ensure full access to social protection for all without discrimination of any kind, and take measures to progressively achieve higher levels of protections including facilitating the transition form informal to formal work;

Argentina speaking on behalf of Latin American countries did reference social protection as important to women’s economic empowerment.

See UN Meeting Coverage and Press Releases

Youth

Youth leaders address the opening meeting of the 61st Session of the                        Commission on the Status of Women

img_0128

Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) 61st Session – March 13 – 24, 2017

csw61-banner-es

Spanish link

The annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) 61st Session begins on March 13th and concludes Friday March 24th.  The theme this year is ‘Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work.’  There is a small of library of information on the UN Women Website Preparations  i)  Regional CSW61 Preparatory and Consultative Meetings ii) Multi-Stakeholder Forum and iii) Expert Group Meeting

Perspectives of NGO can gleaned from 220 statements on the Official Documents page.  I would like to draw your attention to Statement No 13 in all official languages of the UN – French, Spanish, English, Arabic, Russian and Chinese.  This is the statement submitted by ‘Good Shepherd.’  Does it reflect your view and experiences?

csw61-banner-fr

French Link

When I wrote this statement I had just listened to  Ms. Dambisa Moya ,  a global economist speak at the Second Committee of the General Assembly.  Dambisa suggested six ‘headwinds’ that indicate a growing disadvantage for women and girls seeking economic empowerment.  The results of the ‘headwinds’ are i) a jobless underclass; ii) continuing population growth and underinvestment in quality  education; iii) reinforcement of pre-existing obstacles to girls and women including; lack of women’s access to land rights, girls’ disproportionate time in carrying  water, and increasing feminization of agriculture;  the green economy/green growth has not led to more equitable land and resource distribution; iv) income inequality; v) the impact of austerity measures further impoverishes women and girls;  and vi) economic policies that actually widen inequalities and impact most negatively on those ‘left behind’ posing a threat to the future of the planet.

Are the girls and women  that you work impacted by one or more of these headwinds?   Where do human rights and dignity, gender justice, economic justice and climate justice fit in?

Women’s economic empowerment must pay attention to the plight of girls, who are the agents of change for the future.  We are calling for improved nutrition, health and education for all girls.  If not today’s generation of girls will continue to populate the jobless underclass, work in the informal sector, receive low wages, be landless and be vulnerable to exploitation and gender-based violence.

The accompaniment of girls an women who are furthest behind is the hallmark of our Good Shepherd Ministries.  See Maisha Documentary film based on our project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Recall the #16Days16Stories project of the 16 Days to End Violence Against Women.  Read I Have A Voice – Trafficked women in their own words  These are ongoing projects addressing the headwinds on a daily basis.

What can you do:  It is not too late to take the link to the statment and send it to your national delegation who are attending CSW 61.  There are very specific asks at the end.  i) Fully resource and implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;  ii) Urgently invest in girls’ economic empowerment;   iii) Challenge and dismantle the power structure that subjugate girls and women – an example of this is the new law in Ireland decriminalizing women in prostitution but persecuting the buyer of sex.  A long struggle but worth the effort.  When I came to the UN in 2008 Ireland had not yet ratified the Palermo Protocol (2010) and now the Nordic Model is being implemented. (2017);  iv) Implement National Floors of Social Protection (ILO Recommendation 202)                                                               csw61-banner-en

English Link

A Lenten Resource – A journey, everyday actions, global effect.

I am happy to share with you a very interesting resource created by the Justice Promoters Team of the Sisters of the Presentation, Dubuque, Iowa.  It is entitled ‘A Living Lent that Changes the World.’      It presents a schedule for Learning, Acting, Praying, Sharing, Planning, Giving and Advocating each week of the Advent season taking a justice issue from the Sustainable Development Goals – Starting with Goal 8.

‘A Living Lent that Changes the World.”

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.’

screen-shot-2016-12-17-at-2-35-22-pm

 

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.

un-Ihaveavoice-cover-300px-212x300