Thursday, February 8, 2018

Sisters at the United Nations

Sr. Jean Quinn (left)
Did you know that many religious congregations are members of the United Nations through a joint coalition called UNANIMA International?  Global Sisters Reports recently featured an interview with Sr. Jean Quinn, the executive director of UNANIMA which represents 22 congregations on issues of human rights, women and children, migrants, and the environment. 

You can learn more and read the interview HERE.

Also in the most recent LCWR Newsletter, women religious who are connected to the United Nations shared the following updates:

February 6—International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM
Ending the practice of female genital mutilation would have profoundly positive effects across societies as girls and women reclaim their health, human rights, and vast potential. The UN and NGOs affiliated with the UN have learned important lessons about what can be done to end this practice which reflects deep-rooted inequality and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women and girls.

February 20—World Day of Social Justice 
Image result for world day for social justiceThe UN recognizes that social justice is essential for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. For the United Nations, the pursuit of social justice for all is at the core of its global mission to promote development and human dignity. Social justice lies at the heart of the work of the UN and includes promoting gender equality and the rights of indigenous peoples and migrants, as well as removing barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, or disability.

United Nations Seeks Global Compacts on Migration and Refugees According to International Organization for Migration (IOM) 
Director General William Lacy Swing in these times of the unprecedented movement of people around the world, it has become clear that global leaders must focus on making migration safe and legal rather than trying to halt the flow of people fleeing conflicts, drought, and poverty. In fact, world leaders from Pope Francis to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres have noted that solidarity with migrants has never been more urgent.

On September 19, 2016 the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, a landmark political declaration that is directed at improving the way in which the international community responds to large movements of refugees and migrants, as well as to protracted refugee situations. Negotiations are now underway that will lead to the adoption of a Global Compact for Migration (GCM) at an international conference in 2018.

The agreement to move toward this comprehensive framework means that migration, like other areas of international relations, will be guided by a set of common principles that will lead to universal guidelines on the treatment of migrants in vulnerable situations. Work is also being undertaken by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to develop a Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) for adoption by the General Assembly. The aim is to achieve a more equitable sharing of the burden and responsibility for hosting and supporting the world’s refugees. The GCR will flesh out the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) articulated in the New York Declaration with specific actions to ease pressure on host countries, enhance refugee self-reliance, expand access to third-country solutions, and support conditions in countries of origin for return in safety and dignity.

Unfortunately, on December 3, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that the United States was ending its participation in the UN process to develop the GCM. The administration objects to the New York Declaration’s commitment to “strengthening global governance” and to a number of policy goals that are, according to Secretary Tillerson, “inconsistent with US law and policy” and “could undermine the sovereign right of the United States to enforce our immigration laws and secure our borders.”

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