Blog

Follow our main activities with the United Nations
  • On October 23, 2017, as part of the “UN Library Talks Geneva” series, there was a discussion focused on cultural diplomacy. The main ideas came from a report titled “The art of soft power: A study of cultural diplomacy at the UN Office in Geneva” co-authored by James Doeser- a research associate at King’s College London. The UN at Geneva was chosen as the site to gather information for the report since it was seen as a microcosm of global politics. Moreover, H.E. Mr. Lomonaco, Ambassad...

  • October 17, 2017, is the 25th anniversary of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The day is a time for raising awareness calling to mind one of the most vulnerable groups among us- the poor. By bringing special attention to the plight of the poor the hope is that their difficulties will be highlighted and that the world will come together to meet the challenges necessary to remedy the situation and eliminate poverty entirely. Mr. Philip Alston (Australia) has been the current S...

  • On Friday, October 6, 2017 the Intersessional panel discussion on human rights, climate change, migrants and persons displaced across international borders was held at the Palais de Nations. The discussion’s focus regarded the impact of climate change on migration. The talks premised on an understanding of the negative effects that severe weather can have on the stability and functionality of governments as it relates to providing for their citizens. With these limitations in mind, panelists t...

  • On Friday, 6 October, representatives from IIMA and Vides attended the “Seminar on the  Implementation of Effective Safeguards to Prevent Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment During Police Custody and Pretrial Detention” held in the Palais des Nations. The seminar followed the adoption of resolution 31/31 (2016) of the Human Rights Council. The different panelists discussed the question of prevention from several angles: the legal and juridical safeg...

  • On Friday, 29 September ended the 36th session of the Human Rights Council at the Palais des Nations, in Geneva. This last meeting, occurring from Thursday 28th to Friday 29th, has been dedicated to the exam of Item 1, or the “Organizational and procedural matters”. In other words, during these last two days, all of the resolution projects elaborated during the last 3 weeks of HRC regular session have undergone the vote of the member States. Moreover, the “Election of the Human Rights Coun...

  • On September 20, 2017 the Human Rights Council held its panel discussion on the rights of indigenous peoples. The backdrop for this event was the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The panel was headed by Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore who noted that many years ago the chief of the Iroquois, a historical North American native tribe, came to what was then the League of Nations and felt an atmosphere of in...

  • During the 36th Session of the UN Human Rights Council from September 11-29, 2017, IIMA and VIDES contributed to the Universal Periodic Review of Brazil, Ecuador, Tunisia and India. While expressing satisfaction in seeing that the concerned countries accepted most of the recommendations relating to the protection of children, young people and women- especially those in the most vulnerable situations, IIMA and VIDES voiced specific concerns and made concrete recommendations in order to achieve fu...

  • Last 11th August 2017 in Battambang, IIMA members in Cambodia had the honour together with other NGOs to meet with the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Cambodia, Ms. Rhona Smith. The purpose of her mission was to collect information on the human rights situation in Cambodia focusing on the protection of children in the context of migration and trafficking. At the meeting, civil society representatives had the opportunity to express their worries and report the reality of the s...

  • Organized by UN-Habitat and the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform, a very interesting Panel Discussion on “Reviewing State of Safety in Cities”, was held on June 28th in Room XXV of Palais des Nations. This event was organized in the scope of the outcomes of the UN “Habitat III” conference, resulting in the “New Urban Agenda”, and to facilitate partnership between local and national governments, civil society and other stakeholders to fully endorse the Sustainable Development Goals for 2...

  • IIMA is pleased to announce the recent Human Rights Council resolution 35/14 that focuses on the issue of international youth rights. This resolution was adopted after the IIMA office, along with other stakeholders and States, pressed the Human Rights Council for a better promotion of youth rights through UN mechanisms. The resolution was made during the 35th regular Human Rights Council Session in Geneva, Switzerland in June 2017. It recognizes the fact that the world’s youth population face ...

  • On June 6 thru 23, 2017, at Palais de Nations, Geneva Switzerland, the IIMA office was busy with work as they prepared for their participation in the 35th regular session of the United Nations (UN) Human Right Council (HRC). The main role IIMA played in the 35th UN HRC was through the submission of oral statements thanks to the work of interns and volunteers. Four oral statements were given on behalf of IIMA and VIDES, along with the co-sponsorship of several other joint statements. The first or...

  • On Thursday, May 4th, IIMA and VIDES attended an enlightening event at the UNOG Library organized by the foundation “CAUX – Initiative of Change”. The event, “Youth Breaking Barriers of Exclusion”, brought together stories of young volunteers who made big changes in their community through their self-managed initiatives. Barbara Hintermann, Secretary General of CAUX, gave her welcoming remarks, highlighting how this meant to provide a space for young leaders and give them a voice. Four...

  • When the Human Rights Council (HRC) meets, the 47 Member States and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with ECOSOC consultative status have opportunities to stress particular human rights issues, announce their opinions on actions that have been taken or not taken, and can attend meetings and organize “parallel events”, also known as “side events”, on issues related to the work of the HRC. IIMA, VIDES International and the Permanent Mission of El Salvador co-organized a side event dur...

  • Il 10 Dicembre abbiamo celebrato la giornata internazionale dei diritti Umani. La data è stata scelta per ricordare l’adozione, da parte dell’Assemblea Generale delle Nazioni Unite, della Dichiarazione Universale dei Diritti Umani, avvenuta a Parigi nel 1948. La Dichiarazione è stato il primo atto internazionale a tutela dei diritti umani e ha posto le basi  ...

  •   In 1999, the UN General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is an occasion for governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations to raise public awareness on violence against women.  This campaign reminds us that violence against women and girls remains a serious problem since it is one of the most widespread human rights abuses...

  • On November 18th, the General Assembly established the Declaration on the Right to Peace. Many States and civil society groups have been fighting for the recognition of this right for twenty years.  This lengthy process was due to the great lack of consensus as to the meaning of the concept of peace as a right and because it would increase the  obligations of States, for example, to actively and transparently control the arms trade and to suppress the illegal sale of these. The first attempt t...

  • Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. From November 25th through December 10th (Human Rights Day) the UN proposes the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. Violence against women is a human rights violation, a consequence of the persisting inequalities between men and women in law and practice, and it has been identified as a global pandemic. “Violence against women and girls is a human rights violation… The world cannot afford to ...

  • An Interview with Maria D’Onofrio, Advocacy Officer at  Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice The IIMA Human Rights Office conducted an interview with Maria D’Onofrio, Advocacy Officer at Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice (IIMA) and Secretary General of the International Catholic Center of Geneva (CCIG). On September 22nd D’Onofrio sat on the Panel Discussion on Youth and Human Rights during the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council. As a young women and a f...

  • An Interview with Simon-Pierre Escudero, Founder of  Asociación Tierra de Jóvenes in El Salvador The IIMA Human Rights Office conducted an interview with Mr. Simon-Pierre Escudero, founder of Asociación de Tierra de Jóvenes in El Salvador. On September 22nd, Mr. Escudero sat on the Panel Discussion on Youth and Human Rights during the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council. Tierra de Jóvenes was founded in February of 2014 to protect the rights of street children and youth ages 4-25 in...

  • The Committee is holding its 91st session at the Palais Wilson from November 21 to December 9, 2016.  The Committee is a body of 18 independent experts tasked to monitor the implementation of this Convention by its State Parties.  During this session, the Committee will be considering the reports of the following States: Argentina*, Italy*, Portugal*, Togo*, Turkmenistan, and Uruguay*. * These reviews are attended by IIMA representatives. The International Convention on the Elimination of all...

  • Since 1996, November 16th has been designated as the International Day for Tolerance. The yearly recognition of this day continues to hold relevance, especially as we find ourselves in a world where violent extremism is on the rise, where there is no foreseeable end to armed conflicts, where differences in race, religion, gender, social-status, etc. are often enough to trigger violent—and sometimes deadly—outbursts. Every two years on this day UNESCO awards the Madanjeet Singh Prize f...

  • November 10th is World Science Day for Peace and Development and has been celebrated since 2001. The 2016 celebration seeks to emphasize the importance of science centers and museums to foster science communication. One of its goals is also to support teachers who are making children excited about science and are encouraging them to use their creativity to make a positive impact on the world. Furthermore, this day can be especially useful for inspiring young women to enter STEM fields, seeing as...

  • The twenty-second session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 22), the twelfth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 12) and the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA 1) will be held in Bab Ighli, Marrakech, Morocco from 7-18 November 2016. The COP, CMP and CMA are the supreme decision-making bodies in r...

  •        November 6th marks 15 years since the first celebration of the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict. The environment is the “unpublicized victim of war.” According to the United Nations Environment Programme, over the last 60 years 40% or more of internal conflicts have been linked to the exploitation of valuable resources or the scramble for scarce ones.  Resolution 15 of this year’s UN Environment Assembly highlights t...

  • The Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group is holding its 26th session at the  Palais des Nations from October 31 to November 11.  The UPR is a state-driven process in which States present the steps they have taken to fulfill their human rights obligations and committments, assessing both positive developments and identfying challenges. Each State review is facilitated by groups of three Council members from different regional groups, or troikas, who act as rapp...

  • On October 21, 2016, IIMA attended the 25th Special Session of the Human Rights Council in Room XX of the Palais des Nations. This event was organized due to the urgency of addressing the emergency human rights situation in Aleppo, Syria.The Special Session was proposed by the United Kingdom on behalf of a core group of States including Germany, France, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United States, and supported by 33 other Member States. The day was used a...

  • On 20 October 2016, the United Nations Institute for  Training and Research (UNITAR) hosted the panel discussion, “Young People as a Driving Force to Prevent Violent Extremism.” The panel discussed the capacity of young people to be drivers of positive change and leadership, particularly for youth in fragile settings. The speakers included retired Lieutenant General Romeo Dallaire, Amanda Fazzone, Senior Countering Violent Extremism Officer of global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund...

  • On 17th October IIMA attended the event organized by UNRISD, the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, called “Walking the Talk: Transformative Pathways for Achieving the SDGs. The conference focused on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a global commitment to “transforming our world” and “eradicating poverty in all its forms everywhere”. The panelists discussed about the progress that has been achieved until ...

  • Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was the recipient of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize earlier this month. This is a result of Santos’ work to end his country’s 50-year civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions. President Santos initiated the negotiations that led to the signing of a peace accord between the Colombian government and the FARC guerillas. This means that the country is currently in  a ceasefire; however, a permanent peaceful solution has not yet be...

  • On 7 October 2016, IIMA and VIDES attended the UNOG Library Event on the topic “UN and Women’s Leadership: How can we move forward?” The theme took a cue from Torild Skard’s book Women of Power: Half a century of female presidents and prime ministers worldwide which is a comprehensive overview of how and why women in 53 countries rose to the top in the years since the World War II. Michael Møller, Director General, UNOG, and Geneva Gender Champion gave his welcome remarks. The panel was...

  • Today is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. This year, the theme celebrated is “Moving from humiliation and exclusion to participation: Ending poverty in all its forms.” Let us remember that poverty is a multi-faceted reality: aside from material deprivation, it also entails exclusion from the basic opportunities and liberties that allow human beings to flourish in their environment.  For more information: http://www.un.org/en/events/povertyday/...

  •      In 2010 Haiti was decimated by an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale. Still struggling to recuperate from this devastating tragedy, last week Haiti was hit by its largest natural disaster since the earthquake: Hurricane Matthew. Characterized as the worst Caribbean storm in a decade, Haiti’s death count has reached 900. According to the BBC, some areas have seen 90% destruction. Churches, schools and homes have been reduced to rubble. The situation has aggravated...

  • On October 5th, the United Nations Security Council unanimously nominated António Guterres to replace Ban Ki-moon as the 9th UN Secretary General. The appointment will be formalized after the 71st session of the UN General Assembly to take place later this month. Guterres hails from Portugal, where he was Prime Minister from 1995 until 2002. In 2005, he took on the position of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The election of Guterres came as a surprise, as the climate seemed to fa...

  • The last week of the HRC session began with the Annual Discussion on the Integration of a Gender Perspective.  The panel discussed issues of import that still affect women in some parts of the world such as female genital mutilation and sexual violence in prisons.  But there appears to be some hope of improving gender perspective and integration through the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).  Gender-related recommendations are the second most prevalent theme in the UPR; however, we ...

  • Today is the International Day of Non-Violence, celebrated since 2007 on October 2nd on the occasion of the birthday of Mahatma Ghandi. This pioneer of the strategy of non-violence said that this philosophy “is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.” Recognizing the many wars being fought around our world, this message is imperative in order to move towards a “culture of peace, tolerance, u...

  • On 28 September 2016, Greece’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva (UNOG) organized a high-level side event on the topic: Sports and sport values education as means to promote local integration and enhance the protection of human rights of refugees and migrants.  The central theme of the panel was how sports can be an entry point for refugee and migrant children to integrate into their host communities.  For these children and young people, sports can play a healing rol...

  •      On the 26th of September 2016, the United Nations in Geneva held the annual discussion on the integration of a gender perspective throughout the work of the Human Rights Council and that of its mechanisms, focusing specifically on the theme: gender integration in the resolutions and recommendations of the Human Rights Council.  The panel was chaired by H.E. Mr. Choi Kyong-lim, President of the Human Rights Council. The opening statement was delivered by Ms. Kate Gilmore, United Nations ...

  • On the 20th of September 2016, the United Nations in Geneva held its annual half-day discussion on the rights of indigenous peoples, the theme of which was: the causes and consequences of violence against indigenous women and girls, including those with disabilities. The panel was chaired by H.E. Mr. Choi Kyong-lim, President of the Human Rights Council (HRC). Mr. Adam Abdelmoula, Director of the HRC and Treaty Mechanisms Division, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights ...

  • At the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants that was held in New York on September 19, 2016, world leaders came to a consensus on addressing the issue of large movements of refugees and migrants.  The New York Declaration contains a list of commitments for Member States to follow some of which are of key interest to IIMA and its activities such as: Protecting the human rights of all refugees and migrants, regardless of status. This includes the rights of women and girls and promoting their f...

  •      On September 22, 2016, VIDES International Representative Maria D’Onofrio spoke at a panel discussion on youth and human rights that was held during the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) in the Palais des Nations in Geneva.  The panel discussion was mandated by HRC resolution 32/1 of June 30, 2016 and its objective was to identify challenges, best practices and lessons learned in the exercise of human rights by young people, as well as relevant opportunities for the e...

  • On 22 September 2016 at 12.00, Human Rights Council President H.E. Mr. Choi Kyong-lim chaired the panel on “Youth and Human Rights”.  The panel was approved through resolution / HRC / 32 / L.1 during the Council’s 32nd session on 30 June 2016.  The resolution was recommended by El Salvador on behalf of a core-group of Member States and it was approved by consensus.  The passage marked a historic achievement that recognized youth as subject partners for development, bearers o...

  •  The Human Rights Council (HRC) reconvened on Monday with the report of the Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, which is tasked to investigate human rights law violations during the Syrian conflict.  The report sparked heated dialogue between the Member States in the general debate that followed.  NGOs also presented their views and experiences of the grave realities affecting people on the ground in Syria.  During the week, representatives from VIDES and IIMA al...

  • Tourism is extremely important for every nation for its great social, cultural, political and economic value. In 2015 alone, international tourism generated US $1.5 trillion in export earnings. International tourist arrivals grew by 4.6% in 2015 and the number is forecasted to increase in the coming years, expecting to reach 1.8 billion tourists by the year 2030. Everyone should have the opportunity to experience the diversity and beauty of our world, which is why it is important to support univ...

  • On the 14th of September 2016, the United Nations in Geneva held a High-Level Panel on the Fifth Anniversary of the Adoption of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training during the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council. H.E. Mr.Choi Kyong-lim, President of the Human Rights Council, declared the start of the High-Level Panel. The panel was introduced by Ms. Kate Gilmore, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, followed by a keynote address by Mr. J...

  • On 13th of September 2016 the Office attended the Opening Statement of the 33rd Session of the Human Rights Council that, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights read in front of all the Representatives of the States and civil society brought together. The speech began with a serious complaint that Al Hussein wished to share after two years as High Commissioner: the growing refusal on the part of an increasing number of Member States to grant OHCHR, or the ...

  • Global nuclear disarmament has been on the table for the General Assembly (GA) since the beginning. This was the subject of the GA’s very first resolution in 1946. Since then and the signing of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1975, the call for nuclear disarmament has only increased. In spite of this, 15,000 nuclear weapons continue to exist in the world and no steps have been taken to dispose of them. With this disproportionate amount of nuclear weapons in our global arsenal, we have ...

  • On September 20, 2016, IIMA representative Christian Ruehling delivered an oral statement to the Advisory Committee of the Human Rights Council (HRC) on the global issue of unaccompanied migrant children and adolescents.  The intervention occurred after the Committee presented its progress report on this issue, which was mandated by Human Rights Council resolution 29/12 at its 29th session in June 2015. The progress report highlighted the complexities and challenges facing States and civil ...

  • On September 13, the Human Rights Council (HRC) opened its 33rd regular session at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.   HRC President CHOI Kyong-lim presided over the opening of the session which will take place in the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room (also known as Room XX) from September 13-30. Room XX was filled with Member States delegates, civil society observers, and NGO representatives who were electrified from the outset by the opening statement of the UN High Com...

  • IIMA and VIDES participate in a Day of National Mourning observed by Italy badly affected by the earthquake in recent days. We are close to families in this moment of grief and we express our solidarity with the Italian people ....

  •  On 30th June 2016 The Human Right Council, during the 32nd session, agenda item 3, Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development, has adopted by consensus (approved without a vote) the draft resolution A/HRC/32/L.1, entitled YOUTH AND HUMAN RIGHTS. His Excellency Mr. Joaquín Alexander Maza Martelli, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of El Salvador has presented t...

  • On May 30th it took place the NGO Briefing where the Dag Hammarskjold Foundation and the Multi Partner Trust Fund Office presented their second annual Report:   « Financing of the UN Development System – Current Trends and New Directions. », looking at the implications of Agenda 2030 for the financing of the UNDS.   It provides a detailed overview of UNDS resources, amounting to $48,6 billion in 2014 and it identifies a variety of essays -still  under discussion...

  • On May 24th IIMA attended a conference at the Un Library called «  Rethinking Development strategies after the financial crisis », an event organized in collaboration with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. The event, has been an opportunity to launch two books published by Unctad, called ‘Making the case for Policy Space’ and ‘Country Studies and International Comparisons’, which represent a sort of recipe to rethink the development strategies after the ...

  • On May 18, 2016 the Book Launch “Investment Treaties” – Views and experiences from developing Countries on the Reform of the Investment Protection Regime – took place at the UN library in Palais des Nations The panelists were Prof. Carlos Correa, Special Advisor on Trade and Intellectual Property, South Centre, H.E. Mr Xavier Carim, Ambassador of South Africa to the World Trade Organization, Elisabeth Tuerk, Chief, International Investment Agreement Section, UNCTAD, and Kinda Mo...

  •  On May 11th IIMA attended the event entitled “What’s trust got to do with Migration?” at the UN Library, in which the guests shared their personal stories, each focusing on issues related to migration and the importance of trust-building. The initiative was opened by Cornelio Sommaruga, Honorary President of Initiative of Change International (IofC) who stated the importance of consolidating and revaluating human security relating to integration in the global phenomenon of migration....

  • On April 18th IIMA attended the event « Intern with a mission – The Youth 2030 Agenda: Empowering Youth and the Sustainable Development Goals » in Palais des Nations, organized by UNOG with the support of the Permanent Missions of Switzerland and Belgium. This year the event was an initiative to promote dialogue between UN officials, diplomats and UN interns about the topic of Youth empowerment through the Sustainable Development Goals: the scope was to underline the contribut...

  • On April 4th, 2016, the International Catholic Center of Geneva (CCIG) organized a meeting between the UPR platform members with the Chief, Ms. Shahrzad Tadjbakhsh, and other OHCHR representatives from the UPR Branch.   The goal of the meeting was to provide information  in preparation of the 3rd cycle of the UPR, which will start in 2017.    The meeting offered the occasion to improve platform members contribution within the UPR and to discuss difficulties that NGOs encounte...

  • On March 21st, 2016 the Ambassador of El Salvador delivered a cross-regional statement regarding youth and human rights under Item 8 of the Human Rights Council . The statement was promoted by a core group of 9 States, namely El Salvador, Egypt, Cote d’Ivoire, Greece, Italy, Morocco, Portugal, Phillipines and Tunisia, and co-sponsored by 59 States from 6 continents. Nowadays, the number of youth is the largest the world has known, with a record number of 1.2 billion in 2015, and continues to i...

  • Every year during the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, a full day is reserved on the rights of the child. This day presents an opportunity for representatives from countries and NGOs to meet and compare various realities and international initiatives regarding children. This year, on March 7th 2016, Mr. Benyam Dawit Mezmur (Chairperson of the Committee on the Right of the Child), Ms. Maud de Boer-Buquicchio (Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and ...

  • The 12th of February 2016, on the occasion of the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers, or “Red Hand Day” in support of the victims, IIMA assisted a talk at the UN Library on how to prevent the recruitment of child soldiers through the use of comic books. There has been a huge development in International Law to protect children from recruitment in armed conflicts including: the Additional Protocol to the CRC entered into force 14 years ago; the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Dev...

  • On February 8th IIMA attended the seminar “Women & the UN Charter; How gender equality got into the Charter and why it matters today” at the UN Library. The seminar was introduced by Dan Plesch, (Director, Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy, SOAS University of London) who stated that without gender equality in the main articles of the UN Charter the advancement of women these last seventy years would have been far more difficult. This event was special because it was the firs...

  • On February 5th IIMA attended a UN Library event called “A Dialogue on Faith, Peacebuilding & Development”, in commemoration of The World Interfaith Harmony Week. The conference was introduced by Francesco Pisano, the director of the UN library; he explained the importance of remembering the United Nations General Assembly resolution A65/5 that enacted the World Interfaith Harmony Week, when we can emphasize the importance between all faiths and beliefs and the need to eliminate all terr...

  • The Permanent Mission of the Holy See invited the international community of Geneva to attend an Interfaith Service for Peace regarding Pope Francis’ World Day of Peace message where he urged people to “Overcome Indifference and Attain Peace.”  The celebration was introduced by H.E. Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, Apostolic Nuncio, and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations. Summarizing Pope Francis, the Catholic Archbishop Silvano Tomasi mentioned that if we are to at...

  • On January 26th IIMA attended the book launch of “People at the Core” in the UN Library. Mr. David Chikvaidze (Chef de Cabinet, Office of Director General UNOG) introduced the main theme of the book by affirming that in time of humanitarian crisis, while people are struggling against malaria and other diseases, only the 52% of the world “feels safe” and the 79% of those diseases comes from work situations. The speakers emphasized the importance of guaranteeing the long-term health of hum...

  • Today is the anniversary of the Convention which formulates in a consistent way the fundamental rights of every child to be guaranteed and recognized all around the world. The Convention (November 20, 1989) provides a control mechanism to monitor the actions of the states party, which have to present a periodic report about the implementation of the rights of the child in their territory before a Committee of independent experts. The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most widely ratif...

  •  “Show me who makes a profit from war and I’ll show you how to stop the war.”                                          Henry Ford On Thursday, September 17, the office attended in conjunction with the 30th session of the Human Rights Council the side-event “Where is the Political Will to Stop the Wars in Syria and Iraq?” organized by the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy S...

  • On June 16, IIMA and VIDES attended the “Panel on Realizing the Equal Enjoyment of the Right to Education by Every Girl” to end the second full day of the 29th Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC). The President of the HRC, Joachim Rucker, introduced the panel, noting that still close to 62 million girls around the world are not in school, and many suffer attacks only because they wish to attend. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the High Commissioner, then gave his report, setting the scene for...

  • On May 27, 2015, IIMA and VIDES attended the Symposium “Religions Together for Humanitarian Action,” hosted by the Sovereign Order of Malta, at the United Nations. The morning panel discussed the present challenges for faith-based humanitarian institutions, while the afternoon panel tackled how to prepare for the future regarding better assistance and protection for civilian populations. There were many members of a variety of religious institutions in attendance (also reflected in the panel...

  • IIMA and VIDES attended the Convention on the Right of the Child (CRC) for Honduras on Wednesday, May 20, 2015. This Convention addresses all Human Rights associated with children, including the right to education, migration and the presence of unaccompanied minors, violence and insecurity, child labor, etc. At the request of the Committee, the Honduran delegation presented information about improvements to each of these human rights issues since the last CRC. The main concern raised by the Comm...

  • On May 22, 2015, the Ethiopian delegation presented before the expert rapporteur members of the Committee on the Rights of the Child to discuss how they are promoting and protecting the rights of Ethiopian children within the borders and abroad, as well as other children living within Ethiopian borders. IIMA and VIDES were present as well. They spoke of the improvements since the last Convention, including the integration of child rights into every ministry of government. The annual budget for t...

  • IIMA and VIDES will be attending the 29th session of the Human Rights Council starting next week. It meets three times a year, in March, June, and September, and is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them. It has the ability to discuss all thematic human rights issues and situations that require i...

  • The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights by its States parties. All States parties are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented. The Committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of “concluding observations”. Wanchai Roujanavong...

  • On Monday, May 4, IIMA and VIDES attended a training organized by the International Catholic Center of Geneva (CCIG) aimed at helping NGOs and other stakeholders optimize their efforts to make their voice heard during the Universal Periodic Reviews (UPR). Since NGOs are not given the opportunity to speak during the UPR session, the best chance to voice concerns over the present Human Rights situation is the option to lobby States to bring up the concerns on the NGO’s behalf. Jean-Claude Vignol...

  • In Nepal, the commitment of IIMA toward the population affected by the earthquake continues through the provision of various forms of relief. In recent days, from dawn until late at night, braving all odds, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians have managed to reach several interior villages in the districts of Kavre and Ramechap Manthali Bajar with material assistance. These are areas not yet reached by aid agencies, and the population is even now without food. The already poverty-stricken f...

  • Last week, April 20-24, IIMA and VIDES participated in the third session of the intergovernmental working group on the Declaration of the Right to Peace. This is the last session before the text of the Declaration is presented before the Human Rights Council, so it was in everyone’s interest to come to a consensus by Friday night, though it is unclear what will actually be the final version until the Human Rights Council meets. Led by Chairperson Christian Guillermet-Fernandez, Ambassador of C...

  • On Wednesday, April 22, IIMA and VIDES attended the “Women of Power” book launch and panel, which featured Torild Skard (Norwegian politician and author), Elayne Whyte Gomez (Ambassador of Costa Rica), Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda (world leader of Young Women Christian Association), and Sigrun Habermann (moderator). It was held in the UNOG library, directly in front of “The Dream of Peace” fresco by Norwegian painter Henrik Sørensen. First, Ms Skard spoke about the artist Sørensen, since he...

  • UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture Expert Panelists The discussion on the use of the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture took place on April 16, 2015. The Director of the Human Rights Treaties Division, Ibrahim Salama, opened the discussion by reminding everyone that the Fund has existed for 30 years and has raised more than US$160 million since its inception, and introduced the panel of experts, representing different sectors of victim support. They were Felicitas Treue, CCTI, Mexico...

  • On the occasion of the 28th Session of Human Rights Council, IIMA addressed once again the topic of Youth Empowerment, by delivering and oral statement co-sponsored by VIDES International, Salesian Missions, Inc and VIS along with the support of Comitato per la promozione e protezione dei diritti umani, Don Bosco Network, Fundación Jovenes y Desarrollo, Misiones Salesianas and VIA Don Bosco BELGIUM. IIMA urged the  Council to address major challenges that youth are facing in regards to the...

  • On Tuesday February 24th of 2015 the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy was carried out at the International Conference Center of Geneva with a successful outcome. Throughout the day, different discussion panels took place featuring human rights advocates and victims of human rights violations. Among them we can highlight the participation of Tamara Suju, Venezuelan Human Rights lawyer, Yeon-Mi Park, a 21 year old North Korean defector, Saa, a Nigerian schoolgirl who escaped from Boko ...

  • On Wednesday February 18th, the Graduate Institute of Geneva hosted the screening of the movie “Difret”. Produced by Angelina Jolie, this award-winning film tells the story of a female Ethiopian lawyer who defends a 14 year old girl charged with killing a man who, claiming to follow traditions; abducted, raped, and intended to force her into forced marriage. The film was screened after brief welcome remarks by Philippe Burrin, Director of the Graduate Institute, and Michael Møller, Acting D...

  • The panel discussion entitled “Silent Victims of War: Cultural Heritage at Risk in Conflicts and Crises: the case of Syria seen through UNOSAT satellite imagery analysis” was held at UNOG Library on February 5, 2015. The discussion moderated by Francesco Pisano Director of Research and Technology Application Knowledge Systems at UNITAR, featured the participation of prominent speakers: Einar Bjørgo Director of UNOSAT, Vittorio Mainetti from the University of Geneva, Blandine Blukacz -Lo...

  •   On Friday, January 30th, IIMA attended the Informal Consultation with the Chairperson-rapporteur, Christian Guillermet-Fernandéz, of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on the Right to Peace.  The Human Rights Council decided in its resolution 20/15 of July 5, 2012, to establish this working group with the mandate of progressively negotiating a Draft United Nation declaration on the Right to Peace. This informal meeting took place exactly before the third session of the W...

  • Buddhists, Jews and Muslims joined Christians to pray and reflect on Pope Francis’ message for the world day for peace 2015 titled “No longer slaves, but brothers and sisters” at an interreligious service, held at Saint Nicolas de Flüe Church in Geneva this past January 19th. A warm message from Mgr. Richard Gyhra (First Secretary of the Permanent Mission of the Holy See in Geneva) commenced the ceremony that welcomed the representatives of the distinct faiths and guests to reflect about ...

  •  “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood”. After the terrorist attack against Charlie Hebdo’s headquarters in France last January 7th, there are no better words to help us reflect on the appalling nature of such events than those encompassed in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR). If we, as a global community, wish to build a peaceful, dem...

  • On December 2014 the Child Rights Resolution of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), requesting for a Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty to be carried out, was formally adopted. This was also achieved thanks to the efforts and mobilization of Civil Society. IIMA and VIDES contributed to support the campaign calling for such important Study.The text of the Resolution is available at http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/C.3/69/L.24/Rev.1...

  • On 10 December every year, Human Rights Day commemorates the date on which the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaiming its principles as the “common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.” This year’s slogan, Human Rights 365, encompasses the idea that every day is Human Rights Day. It celebrates the fundamental proposition in the Universal Declaration that each one of us, everywhere, at all times is entitle...

  •    The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme will organize a special event on 5 December 2014 in observance of International Volunteer Day (IVD). This year’s celebration at the United Nations Headquarters in New York will recognize and celebrate the contributions and engagement of corporate volunteers making change happen locally, nationally and internationally. The highlight of International Volunteer Day 2014 will be the launch of IMPACT 2030 – a business-led global colla...

  • On November 25-26, the 7th Forum on Minority Issues took place to promote dialogue and cooperation. The goal was to identify, share, and analyze the good practices, opportunities, challenges, and initiatives to better implement the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious, and Linguistic Minorities.  In the introductory speech it was reminded that people are not born with a  sense of categorization, children do not have the idea of friend/enemy; e...

  • Monday, October 27 in room XX at the United Nations in Geneva the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review of Italy took place.  Lapo Pistelli, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation stated that the new government was accelerating the implementation of international recommendations, for example in the matters of cyber crime, of migrant workers rights and of their families, of torture and also about the creation of a Nat...

  • The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty has been commemorated consistently since 1993, when the United Nations General Assembly, by reslution 47/196, assigned this day to raise familiarity with the need to eradicate destitution and desperation in all nations. Battling neediness stays at the center of the Millennium Development Goals (Mdgs) and the advancement of the post-2015 development agenda. The 2014 subject perceives and underscores the requesting test of distinguishing an...

  • During the 27th session of the UN Human Rights Council ( September 8 to 26 , 2014) IIMA and VIDES have contributed to the Periodic Review of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Costa Rica and Nicaragua with a Joint Oral Statement for each country during the  item 6 ( Universal Periodic Review , UPR consideration of outcomes ) . Also presented was another oral statement on the empowerment of young people (Youth Empowerment: a human rights perspective) during Item 8 (General Debate on Follow Up...

  • On Thuesday, September 9th, 2014 IIMA attended the High-Level Panel Discussion on history teaching and memorialization at the 27th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The President of the HRC(Baudelaire Ndong Ella) opened the meeting by giving the floor to Flavia Pansieri (United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights), who has introduced the two reports of Pablo de Greiff (the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and Guarantees of non-recurrenc...

  • The third and final week of the 26th Session of the Human Rights Council took place from June 23 until June 27, 2014 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The week contained an array of official and unofficial events that covered many topics and concluded with the official decision making process on the new resolutions. IIMA attended several of the sessions as well as a few of the side events. On Monday, the Human Rights Council held a Panel Discussion on Preventing and Eliminating Child, Early, ...

  • On Tuesday, June 24, 2014 IIMA and VIDES presented a joint oral statement on youth empowerment during the 26th session of the Human Rights Council. The statement was presented during the Item 8 General Debate on Follow Up and Implementation by Maria D’Onofrio and was entitled “Youth Empowerment: A Human Rights Perspective.” The statement was in response to the recent cross-regional statement on the situation of youth worldwide that was supported by 116 cosigning States. IIMA and VIDES took...

  • From Monday, June 16 through Friday, June 20, 2014, IIMA attended the second week of the 26th Session of the Human Rights Council at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The week began with a panel discussion on the identification of the best practices in combating female genital mutilation (FGM). Over 125 million girls and women have undergone FGM in 29 African countries that contain the highest prevalence rates, with even more affected within specific populations worldwide. The practice violates ...

  • On Monday, June 16, 2014 IIMA attended the High-Level Panel Discussion on the identification of good practices in combating female genital mutilation at the 26th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.  The exceptionally distinguished panel included the First Lady of Burkina Faso, Mrs. Chantal Compaoré, who has worked against the practice of FGM for over twenty years in her country and internationally; Ms. Mariam Lamizana, President of the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Prac...

  • The 26th session of the Human Rights Council began on June 10, 2014 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, opened the Council with her opening statement that described the achievements of the Office since the previous Human Rights Council (March 3-28, 2014) and was followed by a General Debate with the Member States. In her opening statement, Navi Pillay referred to the Universal Periodic Review as an impartial and non-selective p...

  • The IIMA Human Rights Office is pleased to extend the invitation from the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and International Organization for Migration (IOM) “to submit original and creative videos that focus on Migration, Diversity and Social inclusion, for consideration in the 2014 PLURAL + Youth Video Festival”. As powerful agents of social change in an intolerant and divided world, youth have the opportunity to share their own perspective on social inclusion and cohesion,...

  • On Thursday May 15, 2014 at 9:30am, the Human Rights Office welcomed a visit from the Ambassador of Italy, Maurizio Enrico Serra, Permanent Representative to the International Organizations in Geneva, and the First Secretary Marco Lapadura. The meeting focused on the primary issue that IIMA and VIDES International promote “Youth Empowerment through Human Rights”. The Human Rights Office and the Italian Ambassador discussed the main issues raised at the March 11, 2014 Side Event which took pl...

  •                                              The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a cyclical review process that evaluates the status of human rights in each UN Member State every four and a half years. During the UPR, Member States of the Human Rights Council provide specific recommendations to the State under review. The 19th Session of the UPR took place from April 28 to May 9,...

  • ONE STEP FORWARD TO EMPOWER ALBANIAN WOMEN! Give young women a lifetime of opportunity through professional cooking classes and personal development. Why we care: With no education and proper training, young women from Lezhe, Albania are at risk of being extremely marginalized, sexually exploited, or underground immigration. How we’re solving this: We’re giving young women in Lezhe shelter and protection, teaching them how to cook through professional training, and hosting sports activi...

  • On Tuesday, March 11th, Room XXVII in Palais des Nations turned into a forum for ideas and hope. “Youth Empowerment through Human Rights” was the headline of the Side-Event IIMA and VIDES International, with the Permanent Mission of Uruguay, organized during the 25th session of the Human Rights Council. The event gave the floor to young people. Co-sponsored by OHCHR and by 25 Permanent Missions, the Side-Event represented the last step on a long road: the interaction with the reality for you...

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  • On the 3rd of March the Human Rights Council in Geneva opened its 25th regular Session, scheduled to end on the 28th of March. Room XX of the Palais des Nations was crowded with ambassadors, delegations, NGOs, Civil Society and numerous Press Officers for the opening four-day High-level Segment during which over 90 ministers and other senior dignitaries will address the 47-member Council on global human rights matters. Gabonese Baudelaire Ndong Ella, President of the HRC, was the first spea...

  • Albania, Argentina, Austria, Burkina Faso, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, Italy, Maldives, Morocco, Palestine, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Holy See, Tunisia, Hungary. These 25 Permanent Missions, along with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, have now committed to co-sponsoring the Side-Event which IIMA and VIDES International are organizing, together with the Permanent Mission of Uruguay. It will take place on the 11...

  • 57th session of CEDAW : 10-28 February 2014 The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and its Optional Protocol, entered into force on 22 December 2000. CEDAW Committee consists of 23 experts on women’s rights from around the world. Countries who have become party to the treaty (States parties) are obliged to submit reg...

  • The Third Optional Protocol to the CRC on a Communications Procedure sets out an international complaints procedure for child rights violations. It will enter into force in April 2014, allowing children from states that have ratified to bring complaints about violations of their rights directly to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva.  During its 65th session, the Committee reviewed Congo, Yemen, Holy See, Portugal, Russian Federation and Germany.  The CRC will publish...

  • On the 16th of January 2014, IIMA attended a meeting between the Committee on the Rights of the Child and a delegation from the Holy See to discuss the implementation of their human rights obligations in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols. This was only the second such meeting since the Holy See ratified the Convention in 1990. It is significant that the Convention on the Rights of the Child is one of only three international instruments which th...

  • IIMA is currently attending the 65th session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child. This body periodically meets with a delegation from each State Party, to discuss the State`s progress towards meeting their obligations under the convention and its optional protocols. The first state to be reviewed was The Republic of Congo. As one of Africa’s most urbanised countries, with 65% of the population living in cities, the committee was keen to emphasise the need to protect the rights of child...

  • 18 December 2013:  International Migrants Day In his message, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon  stated: “Let us make migration work for the benefit of migrants and countries alike. We owe this to the millions of migrants who, through their courage, vitality and dreams, help make our societies more prosperous, resilient and diverse.” Read the whole message here....

  •   “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”  ― Nelson Mandela Goodbye Madiba....

  • Today, December, 5, we celebrate the Human Rights Day 2013, as a conclusion of a year-long commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, that was established in 1993, after the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, to represent the world’s commitment to universal ideals of human dignity. The event, held in Palais des Nations in Geneva, highlighted that the promotion and protection of human rights is a matter of priority for the interna...

  • When we think of an ambassador, we have a solemn picture in our mind: with think of someone with a high political role, a woman or a man formally dressed, dealing with protocol and being cautiously diplomatic. Well, embassies represent a golden world, where you can find warmth and you can have an honest exchange. While the new crucial negotiation on nuclear power is happening with Iran at the International Conference Centre in Geneva, the diplomatic heart of the world, Sister MariaGrazia and Sis...

  • Today, all of us go back and we are little kids again. On November 20th, the World celebrates the International Day of the Child. This day reminds us of the date when the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. Dignity. That is the magic word. Dignity was born together with the human being, you can read it in his eyes. It is not transmitted through DNA. Dignity is something you take care of, with devotion. Dignity must be stated,......

  • When two Nobel Prizes winners, Martti Ahtisaari and José Ramos-Horta, tell about their long-time experience and their passionate fight, our wish of Peace smells like hope, because we feel it’s not just about words. Which better location than Room XX, the room of “Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations”, to host a dialogue of Peace? Held in Palais des Nations on Wednesday, November 13th, the Conference was entitled “Complexities of Peacemaking: the untold story”. In Geneva,...

  • On 14th May 2012, Israel decided to suspend its relations with the Human Rights Council (HRC), becoming one of the most controversial countries at the United Nations in Geneva. Absent during its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on 29th January 2013, the meeting was postposed to 29th October 2013. Israel has been the first country to do this. As a result, the international community feared for the future and legitimacy of UPR process. Following negotiations with the President of the HRC and intern...

  • From October 7th to 16th, 2013, the IIMA Human Rights Office staff organized several seminars and workshops in Panama, Nicaragua and Costa Rica to raise awareness on the importance of adopting a human-rights based prospective and bring local civil society’s concerns to the international level.  This visit to Central America aimed at enhancing local awareness and participation in the monitoring and advocacy process within the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the three countries. More tha...

  • On 22nd of October 2013, room XX of the United Nations office was filled with tension and excitement. Almost every State was ready to speak and contribute their opinion on the status of Human Rights in China over the four years since China’s first Universal Periodic Review (UPR). For China’s second UPR, Mr. Wu Hailong of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave an opening statement, which reviewed the progress that China recently made in human rights and quality of life. China is made of over 1....

  • “Empowering rural women is crucial for ending hunger and poverty. By denying women rights and opportunities, we deny their children and societies a better future. This is why the United Nations recently launched a programme to empower rural women and enhance food security.”  UN Secretary General,  Ban Ki-Moon “We must enforce and protect the rights of rural women. When women have access to land, there are improvements in household welfare, agricultural productivity and ge...

  •  In 2011, United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. Girls face discrimination and violence every day across the world. The International Day of the Girl Child focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights. The theme for 2013 ...

  • October 5th is the World Teachers’ Day! THANKS for the work they do with passion and hope that it can always be quality teaching....

  • On the 2nd of October, we celebrate the International Day of Non-Violence, held on the birthday of Gandhi, leader of the Indian Independence movement and pioneer of the philosophy and strategy of Non-Violence.              “There are many causes that I am prepared to die for                     but no causes that I am prepared to kill for.”                ...

  • The 24th Session of the Human Rights Council, which started 9th September in Geneva, reached its end. For the Council, whose mission is to promote the respect of the human rights and to monitor the violations in all the UN Member States, it’s time to review and evaluate the results that were reached in this session.                                  In this session, Syria sadly played the protagonist, with...

  • One day, every year entirely dedicated to Peace. It’s a way to discover the true meaning of that word, making peace real and not just a spot of ink on a piece of paper or just the visionary dream of a poet. The UN has invented one day like that. One day when everybody lets a glimmer of peace into their busy daily life, from those in poverty living in a corner of the world, or into a devastating war, or children in fear, or into the heart of a......

  • On September 19th, 2013, IIMA delivered an oral statement on Canada’s second Universal Periodic Review (UPR), which evaluates human rights issues in Canada and recommends where the nation needs to improve. IIMA encouraged Canada to implement the recommendations that they accepted leading up to their next UPR in 2017 and to continue greater work to protect migrant workers from exploitation. IIMA also raised additional concerns about the Canadian Temporary Foreign Worker Program’s holes and we...

  • When the parent of a child is sentenced to death or executed, the child’s mental health is damages and their physical heath is often put at risk. A child will often experience discrimination especially where the parent’s sentence is publicly known. As the death penalty disproportionately affects those who are poor or marginalized groups, discrimination can be exacerbated. The effect on children can be drastic as the child can be orphaned or left without the care and support of a parent. Some...

  •           As our world is faced with conflicts with radically different armies and battlefields, children suffer the greatest from the effects of war. Young children are recruited as soldiers and others are displaced from their homeland. Their neighbourhoods are the frontlines for warfare. They are killed or maimed by explosives, land mines, drones, and other weapons. When children are displaced from their homes or when their homeland becomes dangerous, children are less...

  •   During the conflict in Syria, killings of 150000 civilian have been reported, of which 7000 are chidlren. We support the call of Pope Francis for peace in Syria. ...

  • Please find the UN  Secretary General’s message for the International Day in support of Victims of Torture: “As we mark International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, I call on Member States to step up efforts to assist all those who have suffered from torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.  This year is also the 25th anniversary of the Committee against Torture. This body — along with other UN human rights mechanisms such as the S...

  • “HUMAN RIGHTS MUST BE AT THE CENTRE OF THE POST 2015 AGENDA” affirmed UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navy Pillay, in her Open Letter to all Member States on Human Rights and Post 2015 Agenda on the 6th of June, 2013. According to the High Commissioner, “some of the most celebrated Millennium Development Goals success stories since 2000 are now sites of mass protest decrying widespread deprivation, repression and inequalities masked by the narrow models of economic analysis that hav...

  • Every 60 seconds, eight persons in the world are forced to leave their home and properties to escape terror and persecution. We celebrate today the World Refugee Day, remembering the about 43 million refugees in the world.  We invite you to visit the UN webpage dedicated to the issue for studies, statistics and awareness raising  campaigns....

  • This is the List of Resolutions and Decisions taken during the 23rd Session of the Human Rights Council. Please click of the link below to find the texts and the votes records: Texts and votes records (if you are requested to sign in USERNAME: hrc extranet; PASSWORD: 1session) A/HRC/23/L.1    The deteriorating situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, and the recent killings in Al-Qusayr A/HRC/23/L.2    Assistance technique à la Côte d’Ivoire dans l...

  • Today, 13 June 2013, we start the 100-day count-down to the International Day of Peace, which is celebrated on 21 September each year. We want to share with you the message that the Secretary-General has issued for the day, in which he calls governments, civil society, and other stakeholders to support peace-related projects, as well as other relevant information on the International Day of Peace and the theme of the year: Education for Peace....

  • Today is the World Day against Child Labour.  You can find statistics, surveys and resources about this sad phenomenon still affecting more than 200 million children in the world in the ILO (International Labour Organization) website: http://www.ilo.org/ipec/Campaignandadvocacy/wdacl/2013/lang–en/index.htm...

  • “There can be no equal societies, development and peace if women and girls remain discriminated against and marginalized.”  – This was a statement made by Ms. Navi Pillay (United Nation High Commissioner for Human Rights) in her opening remarks for the Annual Full Day Discussion on Women’s Rights on the 5th of June at the United Nations in Geneva. In the days preceding, the Human Rights Council also discussed the Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women as well the...

  •  On June 4th, at the United Nations in Geneva, IIMA and VIDES Human Rights Office organised, in collaboration with the Permanent Mission of Uruguay and with the co-sponsorship of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and of Permanent Missions of Costa Rica, France and Holy See, the side event: “Youth Empowerment: which strategies?”. The side event’s goal was to invite all the participants, especially States, to reflect on how young people can become real protagonists of...

  • “Think.Eat.Save: Reduce Your Foodprint” We would like to celebrate the World Environment Day 2013 through the Message of UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon: “We live in a world of plenty, where food production outstrips demand, yet 870 million people are undernourished and childhood stunting is a silent pandemic.  To create the future we want, we must correct this inequity.  We must ensure access to adequate nutrition for all, double the productivity of smallholder farmers who...

  • The 31st of May, the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, Mr. Kishore Singh, was held during the 23rd session of the Human Rights Council (item 3). The report of Mr. Singh focused on the justiciability of the Right to Education which aims to identify different ways to enforce this right through the establishment of judicial and quasi-judicial mechanisms at the national and international level. In fact, he stressed how the improvement of access to justice fo...

  • On the 27th of May the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Navy Pillay, opened the 23rd session of the Human Rights Council expressing her deep concern for the brutal human rights violations presently occurring in Syria, and she strongly urged the International Community to act to put an end to the violence and come to an immediate and lasting solution to the conflict.  She defined the Syrian situation as “an intolerable affront to the human conscience”.  While strongly conde...

  • The Conference «Volunteerism – Avenue for Social Transformation» is an annual international forum aimed at forming effective cooperation among volunteers from different countries and at disseminating information and experiences of successful social voluntary practices. This year the Conference took place on the 14th and 15th of May 2013 at Palais des Nations in Geneva. Many speakers of different associations participated in the conference and their speeches focused on: The fundamental role o...

  • Today we want to propose to you the Message of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for the International Day of Family 2013:   “Families hold societies together, and intergenerational relationships extend this legacy over time.  This year’s International Day of Families is an occasion to celebrate connections among all members of the constellation that makes up a family.  It is also an opportunity to reflect on how they are affected by social and economic trends – ...

  • On April 29, 2013 the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), opened its fiftieth session with an important innovation: on the fifth of May of this year, the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights will enter into force, meaning that victims of violations of rights stated in the Covenant will be allowed to submit statements to the Committee and seek justice at the international level. Uruguay became the tenth country to ratify th...

  • On April, 22 2013 the IIMA Human Rights Office took part in a meeting concerning “The role of migration statistics for treaty reporting and migration policies”, at Palais Wilson in Geneva.   The discussion was organised by the UN Committee in the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (CMW) and also attended by representatives of Governments, UN Committees, International Organizations and various NGOs. The meeting was aimed at focusing on the importance of stat...

  • The 10th training course organized by IIMA, in collaboration with VIDES International, was recently conducted for several of those responsible for IIMA in Europe. The training was divided in two sessions, the first of which was held in Geneva from February  24th to March 2nd, and the second from March 9th to 15th at the IIMA Human Rights Office. The course was intended to offer training on UN mechanisms for the protection and promotion of human rights and the role of IIMA and VIDES as NGOs ...

  • On Thursday, March 7, the United Nations Human Rights Council held its “Annual full-day meeting on the rights of the child.”  In accordance with resolution 19/37, this year’s session featured a panel discussion focused on the right of the child to the highest attainable standard of health. IIMA Human Rights Office and the participants in 10th training course organized by the Office had the opportunity to observe the discussions. Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human ...

  • The Salesian community in Veyrier and the IIMA Human Rights Office joyfully welcomed Sister Yvonne Reungoat, the Superior Mother General of the Salesian Sisters, from March 3rd through 6th, 2013. During her visit, Mother Yvonne took part in the second week of the 22nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. She observed presentations from several Special Rapporteurs: Olivier De Schulter, Special Rapporteur on Right to Food, Raquel Rolnik, Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, Juan ...

  • “Education is a major driving force for human development”, stated UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the opening of the High Level Panel on Human Rights Mainstreaming, held on the 1st of March during the 22th Session of the Human Rights Council. In addition, he argued that education “opens doors to the job market, combats inequality, improves maternal health, reduces child mortality, fosters solidarity, and promotes environmental stewardship. Education empowers people with the knowledge,...

  • Yesterday evening, Wed. March 13, 2013, the cardinals met in conclave and elected the new Pope: the Jesuit Argentine Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who chose the name Francesco. A crowd of thousands welcomed him, despite poor weather. With his smile and his simple words, the new Pope has now established a relationship of mutual exchange between himself and the whole community. After praying for Bishop Emeritus Benedict XVI before the blessing and the final plenary, in fact, he asked the community for a ...

  • For more information: http://www.un.org/en/events/womensday/sgsmessage.shtml...

  • From February 18th through February 21st, an Open-Ended Inter-Governmental Working Group (OEWG) met to discuss the Draft United Nations Declaration on the Right to Peace. Delegations from nearly 80 States, and nearly 30 Civil Society Organizations, along with several intergovernmental organizations participated in the meeting. IIMA participated in all sessions, and had the opportunity to give an Oral Statement during the session of the meeting focused on Article 4 on Peace Education. Maria D’O...

  • On Thursday, February 21st, 2013, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay participated in an event to launch the, “Rabat Plan of Action on the prohibition of advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.”   The plan was inspired by several events in recent decades, from the role of media in spurring the Rwandan genocide to the recent film, “The Innocence of Muslims,” that led to retaliatory riots ...

  • The Platform on the Right to Education is composed of NGOs committed to this Right. On 29th of January, the platform met to prepare a statement for the High Level Panel discussion on human rights mainstreaming which will be held on March 1st, 2013, during the 22nd session of the HRC. This Panel will focus on human rights and the post-2015 development agenda, with a particular focus on the right to education. The NGOs agreed to say that the failure to achieve education for all is in part due to.....

  • On January 29, 2013, the State of Israel was scheduled to undergo its second Universal Periodic Review (UPR), but the Israeli Mission to the UN did not present its report to the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), or attend the designated session.  Other States made statements regarding this unprecedented occurrence. Many shared the concern that by breaking the pattern of cooperation, Israel has opened the door to non-cooperation by others. All States present expressed enormous respe...

  • On 24 January 2013, the Civil Society Organizations (CSO) Coalition on the Right to Peace organized a meeting in preparation for the first session of the Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) on the Right to Peace to be held from 18-21 February 2013. Established by the Human Rights Council in July 2012 through resolution 20/15, the OEWG has been charged with “progressively negotiating a draft UN declaration on the right to peace on the basis of the draft submitted by the Advisory Comm...

  • On 10 December we celebrated the International Human Rights Day. The date was chosen to remember the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948 in Paris. The Declaration was the first universal enunciation of human rights which posed the basis for the development of human rights globally. For further information please visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Day2012/Pages/HRD2012.aspx and http://www.cgfmanet.org/_21_.asp...

  • In 1999, the UN General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is an occasion for governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations to raise public awareness on violence against women.   This campaign reminds us that violence against women and girls remains a serious problem since it is one of the most widespread human rights abu...

  • (ANS – Rome) – On the occasion of the World Day for Prayer and Action for Children around the world the Rector Major invites every Salesian community in the world to strengthen its commitment to promoting and safeguarding the right of every child in the world to be registered at birth. My dear brothers and sisters, Salesians, Salesian Sisters,  members of the Salesian Family, young people involved in volunteer movements. On 20 November Universal Childrens Day will be celebrated...

  • Today, 20 November, we celebrate worldwide the International Children’s Day , the anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and Adolescent (CRC), 1989....

  • Young people gathering from all over the world under the flags of 34 countries, the sharing of concrete experiences in the field, and the joy to be together to discover again and re-read through today reality the mission of VIDES. These were the ingredients for the success of the  X International Conference of VIDES (International Volunteerism Organization for Women, Education and Development) under the title “Recall, Rejoice, Renew”, which took place from November 1st to 4th, in Trevi ...

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  • Today October 17th we celebrate the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty has been observed every year since 1993, when the General Assembly, by resolution 47/196, designated this day to promote awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution in all countries, particularly in developing countries – a need that has become a development priority....

  • On 11th October 2012, the first international day of the girl child was designated by the United Nations to encourage global action on girls’ rights. On this occasion, PLAN International (http://plan-international.org/) launched its global campaign “Because I am a Girl (BIAAG)” to ensure to millions of girls the access to education and other basic services, livelihood, participation and protection. The event “BIIAG” was sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Canada, Finland, Peru, Swit...

  • On the 10th of October, the European Union together with the delegations of Mexico, Mongolia and Switzerland organized at the UN in Geneva a high-level panel discussion gathering UN experts, activists, politicians, and members of victims’ families from all over the world. The aim was to reflect together on the issue, highlighting the progresses made, the experience gained and the challenges remaining for abolition and restriction of the use of death penalty. Ms. Kyuing-wha Kang, ...

  • On 10th October IIMA participated in a panel organized by the Global Alliance against FGM on the most effective approaches for a successful fight against genital mutilation of babies, girls and women. Female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision, is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medi...

  • The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) discussed the situation of women in Togo during its fifty-third session (1 – 19 October 2012). During the discussion with the national delegation of Togo, the Committee pointed out controversial subjects such as polygamy, the low rate of women’s political participation, early marriage, early pregnancy, the situation of women in rural area and women with disabilities. The delegation of Togo emphasiz...

  • On October 2nd 2012, Ms. Patrizia Scannella from Amnesty International office in Geneva met the staff of IIMA Human Rights Office, in order to share best practices and main challenges experienced during her advocacy work in Geneva.  In particular, she presented Amnesty International and its commitment for the protection of human rights in 80 countries worldwide. She focused on the support offered to the Special Procedures, through the preparation of documentation, organization of meetings w...

  • In 1869 was born Mahatma Gandhi.  October 2 is the International Day of Non-Violence...

  • On 28th of September the Human Rights Council concluded the 21st regular session adopting 33 resolutions on a wide range of issues of undeniable social, judicial and political relevance. Under the Agenda Item 3 (on the Promotion and Protection of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Including the Right to Development) the Council adopted 20 Resolutions, among which the most important are on the protection of human rights of indigenous peoples, on the fight ag...

  • During the week of 17-22 September, at the XXI Session of the Human Rights Council,  the International Institute of the Daughters of Maria Ausiliatrice (Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco) and VIDES International presented four oral statements during the discussion of item 6 related to the adoption of the Universal Periodic Revsion (UPR) reports on Ecuador, Brazil, Poland and South Africa.  In a general vision of youth envolvement and effective participation in the activities carried out by...

  • On the 17th of September, the Human Rights Council held an interactive dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic.                                       Mr. Paulo Pinheiro, Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry, expressed concern that the violations of human rights are committed in Syria by both parties: Government forces and anti-Government ...

  • An Informal consultation between the Independent Expert on International Solidarity and Human Rights and civil society was held on Friday, September 14th at Palais des Nations. The first panelist, H.E. Msgr. Silvano M. Tomasi, Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See highlighted the importance of solidarity as key notion in the social doctrine as well as in human rights system. He also stated that the concept of solidarity has been devalued: “Solidarity must generate a mora...

  • On the 13th September the 21st Human Rights Council held a Panel discussion on the issue of intimidation or reprisal against individuals and groups who cooperate or have cooperated with the UN, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights. The sad coincidence is that the panel was held the day after the murdered of the U.S. ambassador, Christopher Stevens, by Islamist gunmen who attacked the U.S. consulate in Libya. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, General Secretary of the UN, through a video...

  • On Monday September 10th the Human Rights Council opened its 21st Session, in Geneva. The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, in his opening speech, encouraged the Ambassadors, Member State representatives, and NGOs to “use all our tools to shine the light of human rights everywhere”. While recalling main international issues requiring to be addressed, he mentioned his expectations for this Session, which are: To enforce the perspective of Human Rights in every instance of the United Nations....

  • On 4th July 2012, the Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice (IIMA) organized a side event at Palais des Nations, Geneva, with the support of VIDES International. The event was co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Haïti, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Holy See and the NGOs Platform on the Right to Education. The event focused on the current situation in Haïti, with special regards to education, and on results of the humanitarian intervention in the country after two years ...

  • On the 21st of June, the Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, and the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, presented reports to the Human Rights Council focused upon protecting the rights of journalists.  Both emphasised the unacceptable worldwide level of violence against both professional and unprofessional journalists. They asserted that it was local journalists who were most vulnerable. According to the r...

  • On the 21st of June, the Human Rights Council held an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights and a clustered interactive dialogue with both the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises and the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural r...

  • On the 20th of June 2012 the NGO Platform on diversity and cultural rights hosted an event on the subject of cultural rights. The main speaker of the side event was the Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights, Ms Farida Shaheed. As the first mandate holder, her job began with identifying cultural rights, based on the assumption that everyone has the right to take part in cultural life. This consists of three elements:  The right to access for culture, the right to participate in,...

  • On the 22nd of June the UN conference on sustainable development, Rio +20, came to a close. 191 national delegations produced a final document entitled: “The future we want”. The document contains 283 articles which detail the commitments of the international community to global sustainable development. The document focuses in particular on green economy, which was described as: “one of the important tools available for achieving sustainable development which could provide options for poli...

  • On the 19th of June, the Human Rights Councils held a clustered dialogue with Mr Kishore Singh, Special Rapporteur on the right to education. Mr Singh reported that, despite the considerable progress made in universalizing access to primary school, education remained of worrying low quality in many areas. He added that it is essential to promote the right to education both as entitlement in terms of universal access to basic education and as a tool of empowerment, enabling the acquisition of val...

  • On the 14th of June, the 101st Conference of the International Labour Organization (ILO) was visited by the Burmese opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, General Secretary of the National League for democracy (NLD) and, since April 2012, Member of the Parliament of Republic of Union of Myanmar. Ms. Suu Kyi was visiting Europe for the first time in 24 years, most of which had been spent under house arrest since the Burmese military regime – still governing –  condemned her. During the...

  • On the 13th of June Mr G. Napolitano, the Italian President, addressed the 101st International Labour Conference. He expressed great concern regarding widespread unemployment in Europe and around the world, particularly among the youth, and recalled  – through the words of the economist Federico Caffé – that labour is not only a means of production, but a primary end in itself. As such, States should consider it as a priority in public policies. The Italian President emphasised tha...

  • “Simply put, participatory, accountable, non-discriminatory and empowering development is more effective, more just and ultimately more sustainable.” On June 12th, 2012, prior the UN Rio +20 Conference on sustainable development, The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Navi Pillay, stated that sustainable development would not be possible without taking into account human rights. She asserted that “strategies based on the narrow pursuit of economic growth wit...

  • On Tuesday the 12th of June, the UN Secretary-General published his “list of shame”, which reported 52 parties who recruit and use, kill and maim or commit sexual violence against children in addition to those who attack schools and hospitals. This included four new parties in Sudan, Yemen and Syria. Mr Ban’s annual report to the Security Council on children and armed conflict gave an overview of the grave violations committed against children in conflict zones, the main perpetrators,...

  • On the 31st of May 2012 the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) examined the situation of children and the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Vietnam. The Committee drew attention to some necessary reforms in order to align domestic legislation with international standards. This included raising from 16 to 18 the age of adulthood and reforms in the field of juvenile criminal justice. The experts’ concern focused on discrimination against children from minorit...

  • On the 12th of June, World Day Against Child Labour, several experts released statements expressing their continued concern for children labouring to survive. According to the ILO’s Director-General Juan Somavia, 215 million children remain in child labour and over half of these in the worst forms of labour. Despite ILO targets to end child labour by 2016, only 30 million children have been brought out of labour. The number of children in the worst forms of labour is over 11 times the populati...

  • New York, 6th of June 2012  4:50 PM On Wednesday the United Nations created an online platform to measure the financial and political progress made by States towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). “From today, we have made available to all an accessible tool so that the whole world can follow the progress made by Member States towards achieving the MDGs”, said Mr Ban during the informal meeting of the General Assembly organized to launch the website http://mdgsupport.u...

  • On the 22nd and 23rd of May the Committee Against Torture (CAT) held and interactive dialogue with a delegation from Cuba led by Rafael Pino Becquer, Deputy Attorney General of Cuba, following the submission of a national report. Among the topics discussed were: Habeas Corpus, prison conditions, abusive treatment within prisons, police conduct, forced emigration, the harassment of individuals, attacks on political activists and their families, the definitions of crimes within the Cuban Crim...

  • On 24th May IIMA and VIDES Human Rights Office’s team attended the reception by the Permanent Mission of Italy to the Office of the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva for the presentation of Ms. Bianca Pomeranzi, Italian candidate to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Ms. Pomeranzi has devoted her life to women’s rights protection and promotion both at national and international level. She was co-founder of the Italian Associ...

  • Experts of the United Nations called the European Union to take the lead in promoting the adoptation of a global financial tax to offset the costs of the current economic crisis. As they see it, the actions taken so far to overcome the crisis, including varying austerity programmes, risk causing significant human rights regressions. A financial transaction tax is an alternative which does not entail these same risks. They called attention to the fact that a similar tax e...

  • Ban Ki-moon declares support for families in need of work On the 15th of May, the International Day of Families, Ban Ki-moon, secretary general of the united nations, issued a statement highlighting the need for decent work for families. He emphasised the growing importance of work-family policies, drawing attention to the need to help workers meet the emotional and financial needs of their families. “Millions of people around the world lack decent working conditions and the soci...

  • On the 1st of May, the Secretary-General met the leader of the opposing party in Myanmar, Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, for the first time at her house in Yangon. Mr. Ban-Ki Moon thanked her for her commitment and perseverance towards democracy, development and human rights, affirming that she  has been “a symbol of hope for human rights for all, all around the world.”  In April, Myanmar citizens headed to the polls to vote for representatives of the Parliament, with Ms. Suu Kyi winning a ...

  • On the 26th of April, IIMA attended a panel on “Humanitarian Principles in a Changing World: Bridging the Gap between Policy and Practice”, organized by Caritas Internationalis. The meeting was opened by the speech of the moderator, Mr. Alistair Dutton, Humanitarian Director of Caritas Internationalis, which presented the four humanitarian principles of independence, neutrality, humanity and impartiality, recalling that September 11th was a turning point for humanitarian interventions. After...

  • On the 18th of April, IIMA participated in a discussion on “Youth Employment” organized by the International Catholic Centre in Geneva (ICCG). The meeting featured Mr. Larry Kohler, member of the Executive Committee of the International Catholic Center of Geneva and former ILO officer, as well as the participation of representatives of some Catholic-based NGOs. Mr. Kohler painted a picture of the situation of youth employment around the world: over 75 million youth worldwide are looking for ...

  • On the 16th of April, the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, invited the leaders of NGOs in consultative status with ECOSOC to a briefing on the Secretary-General’s five-year action agenda. The meeting focused on the key challenges before the United Nations and the role of civil society in addressing these challenges. Mr. Ban Ki-moon’s agenda consisted of five priorities: sustainable development, prevention, world safety and security, supp...

  • On the 2nd of April, 2012, the UN General Assembly convened a high-level meeting in New York to discuss how well-being and happiness can be used as parameters for measuring countries’ development, which depends not only on economic factors. The meeting was organized by Bhutan, who has recognized the supremacy of national happiness over national income since the early 1970’s. The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, said that economic, social and environmental well-being is indivisible and esse...

  • The General Secretary of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon took part this Tuesday (11th April 2012) in an ongoing dialogue with the youth of the whole world. The participants represented all the continents. The six youngsters had been selected for the consultations between the UN, civil society and as representatives of the universities. They discussed different topics, such as youth unemployment, technology, and the rights of women, thanks to Google+. Ban Ki-Moon stated that his ears are always op...

  • On March 19th, 2012, a group of 22 independent experts of the UN urged the governments to include the respect and the promotion of human rights among the objectives of the International Summit on durable sustainable development “Rio+20”, which will be held from the 20th to the 22nd of June 2012. The experts also expressed their fear that the complexity of the objectives would negatively influence their accomplishment. Rio+20 has to lay the basis for new strategic priorities which are meant t...

  • On March 14th, 15th and 16th, 2012, several  NGOs  organized a  series of panels on Human Rights Education (HRE) in Practice.     The first one, entitled “International Policies on Human Rights Education,” organized by the Organisation Internationale pour le Droit à L’éducation et la Liberté D’enseignement  (OIDEL) and Soka Gakkai International (SGI), and was held on Wednesday, March 14th. The first speaker’s address, Ms. Eugenia Gutié...

  • On March 7th, 2012 at Palais des Nations, the Human Rights Council held a “historic” panel on violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  The panel commenced with an impassioned call to action via video message by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon for members of the Human Rights Council to respond to “disturbing” patterns of violence and discrimination committed against persons based on sexual orientation or gender identity, which set the tone for the...

  • On March 5th, 2012, as part of the Human Rights Council at Palais des Nations, the UN held an interactive dialogue on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.  The focus of this discussion centered around accounts in recent years of harassment undergone by human rights defenders and citizen journalists in particular, usually at the hands of the State, in an invidious effort to silence their reports of human rights violations.   Mr. Mendes, Special Rap...

  • On March 2nd 2012, Ms. Navy Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, presented her annual report to the Human Rights Council. Ms. Pillay said that 2011 was a critical year for human rights, a year characterized by “challenges to human rights linked to the global economic, climate, energy and food crises, famine in the Horn of Africa, armed conflict, racism and xenophobia, and lingering poverty.ˮ Ms. Pillay also recalled the mobilization of civil society against authoritarian...

  • On February 29th, 2012, the Human Rights Council held the first ever panel discussion of freedom of expression on the internet.  There were some complaints before the discussion even got under way that the panel was being moderated by an Al-Jazeera English journalist rather than the president or vice-president of the Council (according to UN protocol, they said) and admonitions that the United Nations  is “not a TV talk show.”  Such complaints, which appeared purely technical ...

  • Geneva, 28 February 2012 – For the first time ever and more than twenty years after the official recognition of their rights, children can access justice at the international level thanks to the active campaigning promoted by an NGO coalition from across the world since 2006, which has resulted in the adoption of a new Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The official United Nations signing ceremony took place today, 28 February 2012, during the United Nations Human ...

  • On the 28th of February, the Human Rights Council held a panel discussion on human rights mainstreaming and international cooperation. The panel opened with a message from United Nations Secretary-General Ban-ki Moon recalling that respect for human rights is a responsibility for all United Nations Member States and agencies. The message was followed by the speech of Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which affirmed that an increasing number of United Nations agencie...

  • On February 28th, 2012 the Human Rights Council held an urgent debate on the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser (President of the UN General Assembly) opened the meeting affirming that the report on Syria published by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria painted a dire picture of the situation on the ground. The Syrian Government has clearly failed in its responsibility to protect its people; on the contrary, it...

  • On February 27, 2012 the Human Rights Council opened its 19th session at Palais des Nations, Geneva. In the opening remarks, senior officials underlined how the United Nations’ commitment in protecting and promoting human rights is now as vital as ever, as demonstrated by the recent uprisings in the Arab region. The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navi Pillay, stressed that the public request for the enjoyment of human rights against exclusion, inequality and discrimination has also em...

  • From the 20th to the 24th of February 2012, the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee held its 8th session at Palais des Nations, Geneva. The experts addressed, among other things, the issues of the right to peace and traditional values of humankind. With regard to the right to peace, a draft declaration on this subject has been reviewed. While opening the session, Mr. Heinz affirmed that both individuals and peoples are entitled to the right to peace, which nevertheless must be implemented by...

  • On February 21, 2012 the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women considered the combined second, third, fourth and fifth periodic reports of Zimbabwe relating to how that country is implementing the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Introducing the report, Ms. Olivia Muchena, Minister of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development, said that Zimbabwe had embarked on a Constitution making process in 2009, whi...

  • On the 16th of February 2012, Norway was reviewed by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), at Palais Des Nations, Geneva. Mr. Audun Lysbakken, Minister of Children, Equality, and Social Inclusion, presented the eighth national report affirming that, despite Norway being one of the first countries to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, several challenges remained. Different issues were presented by the Minister...

  • The Office of the Secretary General of the United Nations released a short statement on January 27th, 2012, to mark the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, this year dedicated especially to the children.  The requiem reminded that, though they were the overwhelming majority, not only Jewish children but also disabled, Romany and Sinthi children and all other children of any race or group deemed “inferior” were exterminated at the hands of their ...

  • On the 23rd and 24th of November 2011, on the occasion of the 47th Session of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), the report submitted by the Republic of Argentina was reviewed. The CESCR is a United Nations body of 18 experts that monitors the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights by State parties. During the two-day debate many issues were raised by the members of the committee, regarding especially child labor, right to...

  • On the 5th of December, as the United Nations resolution 40/212 establishes, the International Volunteer Day is observed. On occasion of this upcoming event, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted the precious commitment of volunteers around the world and called on civil society and simple people to positively contribute to this solidarity campaign: “Beginning with the words “We the peoples”, the United Nations Charter reminds us that crafting solutions to global challenges is a ...

  • The expert consultation held on November 1-2, titled “Promoting the rights of children working and/or living on the street: Bridging the gaps between policy and practice,” aimed to solidify the Global Research Paper on street children in order complete the document by the end of 2011. Gathered at the meeting were field experts, country missions, and civil society representatives working to contribute tangible results to the report. The meeting was sponsored by the United Nations Human Rights...

  • On 31 October, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) voted for the Admission of Palestine as full member of the Paris-based agency. The decision was taken with 107 votes in favour, 14 against and 52 absentees, raising the current number of Member States to 195. Included among the black-balls votes were that of both the United States and Israel. In an interview the General-Director of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, expressed her concerns for the Organization’s fut...

  • On October 31, 2011 the world population reached 7 billion inhabitants as stated by the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA) recently issued yearly State of the World Report outlining the trends that define our world. On one hand this exponentially increasing number represents the possibility for positive global advancements and development; while on the other, the reality of poverty, the economic crisis, human rights violations and volatile governments titter on the verge of collapse. &n...

  • A conference on the occasion of the 66th Anniversary of the entry into force of the United Nations Charter, dating back to 1945,  was organized on 21 October, 2011, by the NGO Liason Unit of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), and the Geneva International Model United Nations (GIMUN).   Also present to commemorate the anniversary was Ms.  Daniel Schender, FDFA, UN Coordination Unit Security Council and Political Affairs. Ms. Schender asserted that inspiration, values ...

  • On October 24th, 2011, the UN celebrated its anniversary since its foundation 66 years ago. The General-Secretary, Ban-Ki Moon stressed the need for unity to face the challenges of the new era, from the economic crisis to the climate change. “Global problems demand global solutions,” Mr. Ban said in a message to the United Nations. “They compel all nations to unite in action on an agenda for the world’s people. That is the very mission of the United Nations,” he added. This year is par...

  • From the 10th to the 14th of October 2011, Bice  BICE (Bureau International Catholic Child Bureau) along with the secretariat of the Lasallian educational mission, co-organized a training course on “Human Rights, the Right to education and education to human rights” addressed to the South American members of the religious congregations of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools of La Salle. Sr. MariaGrazia Caputo, Main Representative of IIMA and VIDES to the United Nation...

  • In a resolution co-sponsored by the 193 Member States, the UN General Assembly called all nations to respect the Olympic Truce during the next summer’s Olympics in London. The objective of this initiative is to “use sport as a tool to promote peace, dialogue and reconciliation” in areas of conflict during the weeks in which the Olympic and Paralympic Games will take place.  According to Mr. W. Lemke, Ban Ki-moon’s Special Advisor on Sport and Development, the peculiarity of the reso...

  • The 2011 Social Forum took place from 3 to 5 October 2011 in room XVIII, at Palais des Nations in Geneva. In the context of the commemoration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development, the Social Forum focused on three main issues: 1) promotion and effective realization of the right to development; 2) measures and actions needed to make the right to development a reality for everyone at the local, national, regional and international level; 3) international a...

  • On 21 September, 2011, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon presented a report titled “We The Peoples” focused on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the future role of the United Nations. The South Korean diplomat focused on five generational opportunities that he defined as “imperative” actions to be taken in changing the future world. The UN Secretary-General indicated sustainable development as the priority  of the 21st century. He remarked on the importance of incre...

  • On Thursday 13th October a meeting was held celebrating the 1st closing cycle of the mechanism of Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the Palais des Nations, Room XX. The meeting, organized by the NGO UPR-info in co-sponsorship with the Permanent Missions of Morocco, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, aimed to review the first cycle session, identifying the progress made in the field of human rights around the world. H.E. Omar Hilal (Permanent Mission of Morocco) opened the meeting stressin...

  • On Tuesday, 11th October, Myanmar announced the release of thousands of prisoners for humanitarian reasons. This decision strengthens the hopes of amnesty for 2000 political prisoners arrested, among which include political activists, lawyers, journalists, and artists. The United States, the European Union, the United Nations and the Burmese democratic opposition petitioned their release for years, particularly after the establishment of the new government. This decision appears as a breaking-po...

  • On 16th September 2011, VIDES International in collaboration with the Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice (IIMA) organized a side event at Palais de Nations, Geneva. The event was co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Costa Rica, Italy, Paraguay, Uruguay, the Permanent Observer Holy See and the NGOs Platform on the Right to Education. The event, entitled “Young Volunteers and Human Rights” served as a response to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s request to “the internati...

  • The Office of High Commissioner on Human Rights hosted the side event on 23 September, 2011, titled “The Crisis in the Horn of Africa: Promoting a Human Rights-based Approach,” to address the timely topic with the intent of promoting an interactive debate that fosters sustainable solutions toward resolution and prevention. H.E. Ambassador Laura Dupuy Lassare, President of the Human Rights Council moderated the panel composed of highly esteemed speakers. Though each speaker presented dis...

  • IIMA is participating, from 3rd to 5th October to the 2011 Social Forum on Commemorating the 25th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Right to Development.Before the Social Forum IIMA submitted a written contribution focused on the Right to Education as driver to the Right to Development. The opening day of the meeting, on October 3rd, IIMA intervened during the interactive dialogue following the Special Procedures’ statements.During the oral intervention, Lorenza Pastore, on behalf of II...

  • In the last days the Palestine’s application to become a United Nations Member State attracted the attention of both the international community and public’s national opinions. The decision of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to request full membership in the United Nations is clearly part of a broader strategy to seek recognition of a Palestinian state. Even if, the recognition of other States is not needed for the establishment of a State under International Law. On the other hand, it i...

  • On September 20th 2011, a panel discussion on indigenous peoples held at Geneva Palais des Nations concentrated on the report of Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous people, Mr. JAMES ANAYA, which highlighted the impact of extractive industries on the indigenous population and the need for the States to establish appropriate procedures.  He defined the participation of indigenous peoples in debates and decisions, as fundamental and overdue. While giving examples of good practices ...

  • On 27 September 2011 the President of General Assembly, Mr. Nassir Abdul-aziz Al Nasser, closed the UN annual debate indentifying it as historic and unforgettable.Many steps have been taken on the road to transparency, justice and human rights. According to Al Nasser, government leaders have raised awareness of the fundamental role played by the international community in the ongoing process to build a better world. Al Nasser emphasized the mature role assumed by the international community&nbsp...

  • One year ago the UN proclamated the International Day of the Disappeared. The institution of this celebration is part of a large series of initiatives taken by the UN in order to fight the tragical phenomenon of enforced disappearance. After more than 15 years working on the project, on February 6 2007 the International Convention for the protection of all persons from enforced disappearance was opened to signature in Paris.  Likewise other core UN human rights treaties, the Convention also...

  • On September 2nd 2011 the UN independent expert on human rights in Haiti, Micheal Forst, positively welcomed the last announces of the Caribbean island’s authorities on new legal measures.The most important measure regards the establishment of an independent judiciary, free from any executive influences. In fact, it represents a pillar for supporting the new Haitian justice system. Moreover, Mr. Forst called for the dismissal of the police officers who did not meet the last national certificat...

  • On the occasion of the European Year of Voluntary Activities Promoting Active Citizenship (2011) and the International Year for Youth (IYY), Vides international and Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice (IIMA) are organizing a training course on the “Voluntary Service and Human Rights” to be held from September 9 to September 21.Committee on the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families – CMW and to share their own experiences with the members ...

  • On 30 August 2011, Philippines accepted the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC) and deposed its instrument of ratification at United Nations in New York. The ICC, born in 1998, is the first permanent international court with the goal of prosecuting individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. The Statute will enter into force for the Philippines on 1st November, increasing the total number of States that h...

  • On Monday August 29, the Salesian primary school in Veyrier commenced the school year as the students excitedly rushed through the hallways exploring their newly constructed classrooms. The school boasts a contemporary-natural design with windows open for a view of the Salève mountain and the surrounding community. The first stone for the site was placed in April 2010 and the construction continued tirelessly to finish the school, just in time for the first day of school.Parents present fo...

  • On 5 August we celebrate Sr MariaGrazia’s 50 years of religious life as Daughter of Mary our Help of Christians (Salesian Sister of Don Bosco). Sr MariaGrazia is Director of the IIMA Human Rights Office since 2007 and she founded the VIDES International in 1987. Her immense experience in VIDES International allowed her to have a deep knowledge of the Institute that at present she proudly represents in Geneva. During her VIDES International experience she involved young volunteers in the s...

  • After the referendum of 2005, organized thanks the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which stopped the long civil war between the North and the South of Sudan, South Sudan celebrated its independence on 9 July 2011. Immediately, the Security Council invited the General Assembly to admit the newborn Republic of South Sudan, as member of the United Nations. Guido Westerwelle, Foreign Minister of Germany, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency this month, expressed his satisfaction for ...

  • On Thursday 14th July 2011, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, will open an UN human rights office in Tunisia in the presence of the current Prime Minister Béji Caïd Essebsi. It is the first time that the OHCHR establishes an office in a Mediterranean North African country. Mrs. Pillay also announced she is planning to open another office in the Maghreb region, namely in Cairo city. The High Commissioner expressed its strong engagement in sustaining Tunisia in its transiti...

  • From 4th to 8th July 2011 IIMA attended the High-level Segment that held at Palais des Nations, Geneva. In particular, IIMA participated in the Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) that focused on “Implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to education”. During the meeting Maria D’Onofrio, of IIMA, presented an oral statement on behalf of the NGO Platform on the Right to Education that involves more than twenty NGOs working in Geneva to promote the Right to Edu...

  • On 7 July 2011, Mgr. Silvano Tomani, Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Representative of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva, met at the Permanent Mission of the Holy See with representatives of catholic inspired NGOs working in Geneva. During the meeting the Apostolic Nuncio underlined the progresses achieved in the last years, highlighting the high number of joint statement submitted as well as the side events co-organized by several faith based NGOs. These joint activities transmit to g...

  • South Sudan became the world’s newest country Saturday, 9th July, 2011, closing one chapter of the Africa’s longest and bloodiest civil wars. There are certainly no blueprints for gaining independence and, experts say, South Sudan’s secession boldly goes where no other new nation has gone before. So what does a territory have to do to achieve statehood? First of all, international recognition. Any group or individual can declare their own nation, but without recognition from ot...

  • On 6 July 2011 the Permanent Mission of Uruguay to the United Nations in Geneva and the NGO Platform on the Right to Education, of which IIMA and VIDES International are members, organized a parallel event on “The Right to education: key to the MDGs, at Palais des Nations, in Geneva. The meeting organized in collaboration with the Permanent Missions of Portugal and Morocco, was moderated by H.E. Mr. Gert Rosenthal, Ambassador of Guatemala to the United Nations in New York. H.E. Ms. Laura Dupuy...

  • On 22 and 23 June 2011, Ms. Magdalena Sepúlveda, Independent Expert on extreme poverty and human rights, presented her report during a meeting organized by the High Commissioner for the Human Rights. The primary objective of this meeting was to open a round of consultations with government representatives, Treaty Bodies and Special Procedures, UN agencies and civil society members in order to redefine the content of the guiding principles on extreme poverty and human rights formulated by the in...

  • On 24th June 2011, Tunisia decided to join the International Criminal Court (ICC), becoming the first country of North Africa to join with this body. For Tunisia, the Statute will be into force the first September 2011. This decision is very important considering the event happened recently in Tunisia, said the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. The ICC appreciated the decision of the Tunisia government to join the efforts of the international community to fight against the most international cr...

  • During the Conference hosted by the International Catholic Centre of Geneva on June 3rd and 4th, 2011, more than 70 catholic-inspired NGOs called for the ratification of the ILO Convention on Domestic Workers. The Convention was adopted on June 17th at the conclusion of the ILO Conference, opening it up for ratification by state parties.  This is a very important progress because until now domestic work has long been excluded from traditional labour protections such as minimum wage and acce...

  • On 20 June 2011, H.E. Ms. Laura Dupuy Lasserre, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Uruguay, was elected President of the Human Rights Council, on the occasion of the Organizational meeting that was held in Palais des Nations, Geneva. The president of the Human Rights Council, H.E. Mr. Phuangketkeow, introduced the brief speech of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navy Pillay. She congratulated all members of the Council, and stakeholders such as NGOs and National Human Right...

  • On June 17th, 2011 an informal meeting between Maria Clara Martin Chief of the Americas Section of the Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division of the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights, and some members of the IIMA Human Rights Office.During the meeting, Sr. MariaGrazia Caputo, Director of the Office, presented the future projects of IIMA, focusing on the Side Events that IIMA will organised on the occasion of the 18th and 19th sessions of the Human Rights Council. The fi...

  • On June 17th 2011, a meeting between the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Haiti and some members of the IIMA Human Rights Office was held at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The purpose of the meeting was to share a moment of reflection on the real situation and the progress in reconstruction in Haiti, as well as to assess new potential possibilities of collaboration, especially aimed to facilitate FMAs working in the country. At the beginning, Sr. MariaGrazia thanked Mr...

  • On the occasion of the 17th session of the Human Rights Council, on 16 June 2011, at Palais des Nations, the Independent Expert on the human rights situation on Haiti, Mr. Michel Forst, presented his annual report concerning the period between March 2010 and March 2011. Michel Forst opened his intervention remembering the recent presidential elections that led to the appointment of Michel Martelly, stressing that for the first time in the Haitian history a President, democratically elected, took...

  • During his visit in Uruguay the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon thanked the Uruguay government to be the first contributors for peacekeeping operations and to make big efforts to maintain peace and security in some of the world’s most dangerous places. “When adjusted for population, no country contributes more troops than Uruguay”, he said. Since 1951, Uruguay served in more than 21 peacekeeping operations which involved 25.000 Uruguayans. Currently the Uruguayans troops are composed of 2...

  • UN has been accused by media reports of interference in work of Cambodian genocide court with regard to the mass killings and other crimes committed under the Khmer Rouge three decades ago.   The UN rejected the allegations saying that they defend and protect judiciary independence as well as the independent role of judges and prosecutors at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia (ECCC). The UN categorically rejected Media reports that accuse that at least five UN staff in...

  • Message by Mr. kiyo akasaka Under-Secretary-General for communication and public information of UN September 21, 2011, marks the 30th anniversary of the International Day of Peace.  As we begin today a 100-day countdown to the observance, we pay tribute to the many civil society activists who lent the strength of their imagination to the institution of this Day. The United Nations General Assembly declared in 1981 that the Day shall be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals o...

  • On 6 June 2011, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that it has been a privilege to lead this Organization, and he would be honoured to serve the United Nations Organization once more between 2012 and 2016. “Throughout my time in office, I have sought to be a bridge-builder – among the Member States, within the United Nations system and among a rich diversity of global partners. Finding common ground is central to delivering results”. The Secretary-General affirmed that during these ...

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  • During a conference held in Rome on 16 May 2011, the UN General Assembly President Joseph Deiss, argued the importance of a Security Council reform to avoid the loss of credibility of the United Nations.  “Unless we find the determination to advance on this issue, the United Nations will lose its credibility,” he said. “Our organization will be marginalized, and important issues will be discussed in other forums and groupings which are perceived to be more efficient and more represent...

  • On 17 may 2011, the Committee on Women and Development (CWD) of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), opened in Addis Abeba (Ethiopia) its 7th Session concerning “Narrowing Gaps, Maximizing Opportunities: Beyond Beijing+15”. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss progress made, the problems encountered and the strategies needed to improve gender equality and women’s development. The ECA’s Deputy Executive Secretary, Jennifer Kargbo, underlined that an important progress has been...

  • During the annual conference of the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in Geneva, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, underlined the importance of these institutions in maintaining and restoring rule of law as well as in assisting victims of human rights violations. These institutions play a key role especially in post-conflict situations, contributing to restore the normal life of society. An importa...

  • On May 5th, 2011, the IIMA Human Rights Office participated in the Side event “The Death Penalty Worldwide: new data regarding the practice and laws of death penalty retentionist States” held at Palais des Nations, in Geneva.  The Round Table was organised by the Center for International Human Rights at the Northwestern University School of Law of Chicago in partnership with the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty. It aimed at informing the UN Member States and civil society actor...

  • After an eight-day visit to Cairo and Amman, Mr. Richard Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories, expressed his concern about the situation of Palestinian children, still subjected to attacks, detention and abuse. He said that since 2000, due to the Israeli occupation, 1,335 Palestinian children have been killed. In fact, the Israeli military, forces people to leave their home. It arrests children who are often blindfolded, beaten, kicked, or subjected to other ph...

  • On 3 May 2011, the General Assembly recognized to the European Union the observer status. By now the European Union can intervene during the Human Rights Council sessions, participate in the general debate of the General Assembly, present proposals and amendments, but they will not have the right to vote or to put forward candidates. This decision is important because give to the EU the possibility to participate at the UN works and it creates a precedent to recognize the status of observer to o...

  • On 3 May 2011, the IIMA Human Rights Office participated in the World Press Freedom Day, commemorated by the United Nation Information Service, UNESCO and the United Nations Office in Geneva, to celebrate the 20thanniversary of the adoption of the Windhoek Declaration. After a short film on the World Press Freedom Day, Mr. Stéphane Bussard (Journalist, Le Temps), explained the importance of this day dedicated to supporting freedom of expression across all media, including new means of communica...

  • The Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous people, James Anaya, visited Costa Rica last 25-27 April 2011. He was invited by the Government to assess the impact of the hydroelectric dam “El Diquis”, that will be built in the indigenous territory of Terraba, on the local communities settled in this area. In other words, his task was to verify if the hydroelectric project carried out by Costa Rica Government would imply a violation of indigenous people’s rights. On April 25 and 26, th...

  • On April 29, 2011, following the request of 38 member and observer states, the Human Rights Council held the 16th special session to respond to the grave violations of human rights in the Syrian Arabic Republic. At the end of the session, it has been adopted a draft resolution which condemned the perpetuation of human rights violations in Syria, and decided to create a fact-finding mission to investigate into violations. The representative of Syria government argued that the draft is not a good ...

  • On 29 April 2011, the IIMA Human Rights Office welcomed 46 Salesian Sisters coming from India, South Africa, Ethiopia and Japan among other countries. All sisters, who were pilgrimaging to Annecy, scheduled the Human Rights Office in Geneva in their plan. After the presentation of all Sisters, Sr. MariaGrazia Caputo, Director of the Office, and her young collaborators, illustrated the mission of the office: promote and defend human rights worldwide, and in particular the Right to Education for a...

  • A panel composed by three UN experts arrived in Libya on 27 April to investigate into the violence and the abuse of human rights perpetrated by forces supporting Muammar al-Qadhafi. The creation of the panel led by Professor Cherif Bassiouni and composed by Asma Khader and Philippe Kirsch, follow the decision of the UN General Assembly to suspend Libya’s membership in the Human Rights Council and the authorization gave by the UN Security Council to the Member States to take “all necessary me...

  •  On 15 April 2011, a group of 36 Salesian sisters coming from India, Australia, USA, UK, Ireland Rwanda , Sudan and Zambia visited the IIMA Human Rights Office in Geneva. The goal of the meeting was to present the mission and activities of the office and to remember the possible areas for collaboration.  After a brief presentation of each participant, the young professionals of the Office, Lory and Maria with the help of all interns, presented the historical background of the IIMA Huma...

  • From 13th to 21st April 2011, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Ms. Raquel Rolnik, is visiting Argentina where she has met members of the civil society. Our Institute, through the Human Rights Office of ARO Province in Argentina, participated in one meeting. In fact, Sister Rosa Silvia Sidasmed, FMA in Argtentina, presented a detailed report concerning the situation of campesinos and indigenous people, who lived in the North of the country. “Being there where policy a...

  • On 22 March, on the occasion of the World Water Day, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, reaffirmed the importance of the management of water resource to fight against poverty and to guarantee the dignity for all. The management of water resource was among the several challenges decided during the Millennium Development Goal meeting. “Water for Cities” is the the theme of this year’s observance of World Water Day. On the one hand, urbanization could play an important role to improve both...

  • The UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Margot Wallström, welcomed the decision of the African Union to appoint a Special Representative on Women, Peace and Security as a point of contact to strengthen the collaboration between the UN and the AU to eradicate sexual violence in Africa.Margot Wallström said that “without the political leadership of Africa, we will not succeed in eradicating this international crime”. In addition, she encouraged ...

  • On the occasion of the 16th session of the Human Rights Council, held from 28 February to 26 March 2011, the Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice  (IIMA) organized a side event on the “Right to Education of Children Living and/or Working in the Street”. The side event, held on March 4th at room XXIV at Palais des Nations, was realized in cooperation with VIDES International, Marist International Solidarity Foundation (FMSI), and Edmund Rice International (ERI), and under the ...

  • 24 March 1980— El Salvadorian human rights defender, Monsignor Oscar Arnulfo Romero, was shot to death while celebrating mass and after denouncing violations of the human rights of the most vulnerable populations and defending the principles of protecting lives, promoting human dignity and opposition to all forms of violence. Thirty years later, the UN General Assembly, marked the day as the “International Day for the Right to Truth Concerning Victims of Gross Human Rights Violations and...

  • On 24th March, the Human Rights Council created a post of Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran to assess and report on the respect of human rights in the country. This is an important innovation because it implies that, henceforth, the situation of human rights in Iran will be constantly monitored by a UN expert who will submit at the Human Rights Council periodic reports. Consequently, Iran should cooperate with the Special Rapporteur, among other things, by inviting him/...

  • Geneva, 17 March 2011- Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Center for International Environment Law,  Earthjustice and WaterLex led a side event at Room XXV, Palais des Nations on the topic “Climate Change and Human Rights.”  The panel was composed of Joshua Cooper (University of Hawaii), Alyssa Johl (Center for International Environment Law), Yves Lador (Earthjustice) and Maria Francisca Ize-Charin (WaterLex). Felix Kirchmeier (Friedrich Ebert Stiftung) acted as the moderator. In view of th...

  • After the creation of the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) in 2006, the country has taken important steps toward peace and development. The mission was created in 2006 to face the outbreak of deadly violence. Its aim is to train the national police to maintain peace and stability in the country. After many years, the country has finally achieved consolidated peace and development through the reconstitution of the national police.The country’s Special Representative, Ameerah Haq, di...

  • After a week-mission in Tunisia, four top Experts from the UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said in a report that currently it is vital to support the country to the transition to democracy. In the opinion of experts, to make it possible it is necessary a separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers and to put human rights and dignity at the core of the change. Tunisia is preparing itself for the new era and the population wish to break with past injustice...

  • From 20 to 27 February 2011, the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti, Michel Forst will visit the Country for the third time after the January 2010 earthquake. The aim of the mission is to analyse the situation of the country after his last visit on September 2010, and to verify if the recommendations reflected in his last report on Haiti presented to Human Rights Council, are being implemented. The mission will focus on the implementation of the human rights approach fo...

  • Monday, February 14, the UN Commission for Social Development met for a week of preparation for a Summit, this June, during which governments, private companies and unions of 183 UN members’ states will a common basis for a social protection worldwide. The UN has started to lay down a strategy to ensure global social security. Before the press, Director of the Department of Social Security of the International Labour Office (ILO), Michael Cichon, enumerated four pillars which form the foundati...

  • 10 February 2011- Margot Wallström was invited by the Human Rights Council to give an update of her visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The situation: The two main problems concerning the phenomenon of sexual violence were intimidation and impunity. Margot Wallström described the situation in DRC as follows: “Sexual violence is being used as by the combatants as a weapon of war to instil fear among the people.  As the phenomenon became systematic and extensive, non-state pe...

  • The 10th Session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) was held from 24 January to 4 February at Palais des Nations, Geneva. The UPR is a new human rights mechanism, established by General Assembly of the United Nations in a resolution passed on March 2006.Through it, the Human Rights Council was enjoined to analyse on a periodic basis the fulfilment by each of the 192 UN Member States of its human rights obligations and commitments. The first cycle of the UPR process lasts 4 years. Each year i...

  • As protests in Egypt intensify following Mubarak’s refusal to immediately descend from power, the UN goes along and expresses its support on Egyptian’s call for true democracy. The situation in the Middle East is becoming increasingly worrying, and the people are waiting for a speedy transition in Egypt. The people are angered by the delaying tactic employed by Mubarak who said that leaving the country now would plunge Egypt into chaos. The illegal detention and intimidation of journalists a...

  • The new Head of the United Nations Population Fund, Babatunde Osotimehin, called the Member States’ attention on the largest global youth generation, especially now that it is estimated that world population will exceed 7 billion people. “Today, almost a third of the world’s population is composed by youth, with just below 90 per cent living in developing countries, a proportion that will enormously increase during the next 20 years”, he said. Hence, other important challenge is to face ...

  • Last January 25, United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, requested to the Human Rights Council in Geneva to adopt a constructive, fair and objective attitude. Moreover Ban Ki-moon added that solving the problem of human rights is only the first step towards development. Ban Ki-moon congratulated for the effectiveness of the Special Procedures. Thanks to these procedures, the experts, mandate holders, can verify the situations concerning the human rights violation meetings on the ground wi...

  • The United Nations recently launched a website to serve as a permanent memorial honouring the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.   General Secretary, Ban Ki-moon, stated that “The memorial will acknowledge the crimes and atrocities perpetrated over the course of four centuries, when millions of Africans were violently removed from their homelands, ruthlessly abused and robbed of their dignity. The legacy lives on today in the families and countries that were affect...

  • From 1 to 7 of February, The United Nations will be observing the first World Interfaith Harmony Week.According to the Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, “This week is an opportunity to focus global attention on the efforts of religious leaders, interfaith movements and individuals around the world to promote mutual respect and understanding between followers of different faiths and beliefs. These partners play an indispensable role in supporting United Nations efforts for peace”. In proclaimin...

  • 30 January 2011 – The United Nations and the Government of Afghanistan today signed an agreement in which the country made a commitment to protect children affected by armed conflict and to prevent the recruitment of minors into the national armed forces. “Today we come together to undertake a big step for a better future for the children of Afghanistan,” Zalmai Rassoul, Afghanistan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, who represented the Government at the signing of the agreement in Kabul...

  • 27 January 2011 – On the same day in 1945, the largest and most notorious concentration camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, was set free. The evidence of unbelievable cruelty that conquered the camp shook every modern man’s conscience. Hence, on this day, each year since 2006, the United Nations, in concert with the whole world, celebrates the Holocaust Memorial Day. Exhibitions, thru music, arts and speeches, are being held at various UN offices.   We, at  IIMA Human Rights Office,...

  • Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, Mr. Kishore Singh, visited Senegal from 10 to 14 January 2011.  Mr. Singh met with various Government authorities in the education sector, international organizations and NGOs. During his visit, he also went to see the Senegalese schools and daaras (Quranic schools) both in the capital and in the rural areas. Mr. Singh drew special attention to issues such as access to  quality education as specified in the programm...