Dear friends,

We are glad to inform you that after our pleasant experience with the Italian blog, the IIMA Human Rights Office has decided to open a new blog in English.

On this blog, you may follow our main activities with the United Nations and its mechanisms for the protection and promotion of human rights, as well as news from the UN bodies and IIMA offices in different countries related to the right to education.

Do you want to collaborate with us? You can apply for an internship at the IIMA Human Rights Office. Click here!

Have a great time reading!


CESCR takes into account IIMA considerations on Argentina

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.


Ban Ki Moon's Call for the International Volunteer Day

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 job not only for Governments, but for people, communities and civil society. On International Volunteer Day, we recognize the dedication of volunteers, their admirable spirit of service, and their wide-ranging efforts to promote the goals of the United Nations. 


Street Children Expert Consultation

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.


UNESCO votes to admit Palestine as full member

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.

7th billion being to grace the Earth

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.   


66th Anniversary of the entry into force of the United Nations Charter

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).  


On UN Day, Ban underlines need for unity to confront global challenges

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.

Maria Grazia Caputo meets the members of La Salle religious congregations

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.


UN calls for global six-week truce during next summer’s Olympic Games

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. 


The 2011 Social Forum on the Right to Development

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 assistance and cooperation.
The three sessions of the Social Forum included panellists’ presentations, national delegate statements, NGO interventions, debates, as well as short films and documentaries on the implementation of the Right to Development. The first debate opened by the Chairperson-Rapporteur H.E. Mr. Minelik Alemu Getahun and supported by remarks of H.E. Ms. Laura Dupuy Lasserre, President of the Human Rights Council, focused on “the promotion and effective realization of the right to development, in the context of the commemoration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development.” IIMA intervened during the interactive dialogue following the contribution of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, Mr. Singh. Ms. Lorenza Pastore, on behalf of IIMA, highlighted that education is a key component for the implementation of social and economic development, underling the need to invest in secondary and higher education, synchronize educational and labour market policies, guarantee a quality education and develop a global partnership for development.


Report to the General Assembly "We The Peoples"

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 increased efforts dealing with climate change, food security and water scarcity. A second great opportunity for change raised by Ban Ki-Moon’s statement was prevention. The need to Prevent conflicts, disasters and environmental resources through strategic mediation and confrontation. As the UN Secretary General stated, what happened in Fukushima suggests to us those environmental disasters “do not respect national borders”. He highlighted the imminent need to apply a strong preventive campaign against environmental catastrophes.

Universal Periodic Review: looking back and moving forward

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 stressing the importance of the event and called a reflection involving both permanent delegations and civil society. The debate continued with the two speeches from Vice-Commissioner for Human Rights, Kyung-wha Kang, and the President of the Human Rights Council, H.E. Laura Dupuy Lasarre. Both underlined the importance of the UPR in spreading a culture of respect for human rights over the entire world. Other speakers including Juan Jose Gomez Camacho (Permanent Mission of Mexico), Silverio Pinto Baptista (Institution for Human Rights in Timor-Leste) and Dubravka Simonovic (Independent Expert of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women) enriched the debate with their perspectives. 


More than 6.000 prisoners will be released by Myanmar

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-point with the past conservatism of General Than Shwe, head of the military junta, person in charge since 1962, as commented Egreteau Renaud, professor at the Center for Asian Studies, University of Hong Kong. His successor, former President and General Thein Sein, in power since last March, has demonstrated his willingness to make significant reforms in the country.  The first step has been to open a dialogue with opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize recipient, in prison and under house arrest for more than fifteen years.


IIMA and VIDES side event September 16th, 2011: Young Volunteers and Human Rights

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 international community to support youth as agents of change and development.” The panelist present at the event focused on voluntary activities carried out by youth of different organizations in their respective countries and on governmental contributions.

The Crisis in the Horn of Africa: Promoting a Human Rights-based Approach

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 distinct methodologies in their field of expertise, the panel unanimously voiced the need for the international community to take responsibility in cooperated prevention efforts in developing countries before an emergency situation, such as that in Somalia, is at hand. 


The right to education as a driver to the right to development

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 IIMA, called to attention the interdependence of all human rights and the need for States to establish a politically and socially just system that is reliable enough to ensure every person a life of dignity.


Palestine as UN State Member?

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 is true that recognition by the international community allows a State to fully exercise its sovereignty in its external relations.

Panel on the protection of the identity of indigenous people

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 carried out in Costa Rica, he invited the Member States to engage in dialogue with indigenous peoples. 

General Assembly President Closes a “Historic” Annual Debate

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.


The UN International Day of the Disappeared celebrates its 1st anniversary

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 set up a committee of experts to monitor the implementation of the Convention by the States Parties. The 88 States has indeed to turn in reports to be examined by the CED (Committee on Enforced Disappearances) that has also the task to receive communications by individuals or groups claiming that a violation of the convention by a State party has been committed. The Committee was also created to help the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances which has been until today the only UN mechanism active in the struggle against enforced disappearances during the last 30 years.


Haiti: UN expert welcomes declarations on the rule of law

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 certifications, expressing a need of change within its institutional élites. Furthermore, Mr. Forst denounced the risk of an explosion of violence caused by the inaction of the state due to the inadequate health conditions of Haitian prisons.After the impunity cases of J.C. Duvalier and the massacre of the prison in Les Cayes, the UN expert showed assurances that “justice would take its course”.

IIMA and VIDES new project: Voluntary Service and Human Rights

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 of the many NGOs present in Geneva. In addition, they will enjoy the occasion to meet up with the government representatives from their own countries as well as officers from the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights


Philippines ratifies the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

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 new Salesian school in Veyrier, Switzerland, opens its doors. ‘’We will be all brothers and sisters, nobody will feel isolated in this family’’

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 for the inauguration also surveyed amenities the new building offers and listened to inaugural speeches of the School Director Sr Josephine Puggioni and the Pedagogic Director Ms. Catherine De Noyelle.


A special wish to Sr MariaGrazia for her 50 years of religious life

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 salesian project encouraging them to open their heart and to adopt the ideals of justice and peace.
At present, in Geneva she is lead by the same enthusiasm and passion in order to touch the Governmental representatives’ hearts. She persistency fights to promote children’ rights and, in particular, to guarantee the right to education for all.


Security Council recommends South Sudan for UN membership

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 the application for membership submitted by the President of South Sudan, and for the efforts made by the state in the promotion of the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter.


Tunisia: opening of a new UN human rights office

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.


IIMA participates in the Annual Ministerial Review of ECOSOC

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 Education.


Mrg. Tomasi, Apostolic Nuncio, meets with catholic NGOs in Geneva

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 governments in Geneva the unity of the group and the common principles inspiring all NGOs.

South Sudan became the world's newest country

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 other states, this can be a futile gesture. South Sudan is unlikely to meet resistance since its so-called parent state, Sudan, has agreed to the secession. South Sudanese officials say they are on track for recognition by the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other key bodies.  


Side Event on “The Right to education: key to the MDGs”

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.


Human Rights and extreme poverty - Discussion on the Report presented by the Independent Expert

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.


Tunisia joins the International Criminal Court

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 crimes, such as crime against humanity, crime of aggression, and menace to the international peace and security. Moreover, according to the ICC, the Tunisia accession highlights the essential role played by the Court in the context of international criminal justice.
To read more:


NGOs and Labour groups Call for Ratification of ILO Convention on Domestic Workers

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 access to labour courts, leaving domestic workers without social protection. 


H.E. Ms. Laura Dupuy Lasserre, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Uruguay, elected President of the Human Rights Council

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.

Meeting with Maria Clara Martin, Chief, Section Americas, Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

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 first Side Event, set out by VIDES International, and co-sponsored by IIMA, is scheduled for September 2011 and will be about the engagement of youths and volunteers for human rights. The second Side Event, planned for March 2012 by IIMA, will be focused on the right to education for peace for children and youths of the Middle East, with a special regard on Lebanese children.

The meeting between IIMA Human Rights Office and the Special Rapporteur on Haiti

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.

Independent Expert on the human rights situation on Haiti

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.


Ban Ki-moon thanks Uruguay’s contribution to UN peacekeeping worldwide

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 2400 persons under the blue flag.  
To read more:

UN rejected allegations of interference in work of Cambodian genocide court

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 the ECCC’s investigations office have quit their posts since April following disagreements over the decision to close the tribunal’s third case without allegedly properly investigating the charges.

To read more:


100-Day countdown to International Day of Peace, observed on 21 September 2011

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.

Ban ki-moon would be honoured to serve United Nations for the second mandate

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.


46th session of CAT- Committee against Torture (CAT)

The 46th session of the Committee against Torture (CAT) took place at Palais Wilson, in Geneva from 9 May to 3 June 2011. Sr. MariaGrazia Caputo and her collaborators of the IIMA Human Rights Office attended the session and in particular the examination of the National Reports of Turkmenistan, Finland, Monaco and Ireland.


The needed of a Security Council Reform

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.


7th Session of the CDW reviews Banjul Declaration

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 Protection of Human Rights and the importance of National Institutions

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 important issue raised is the necessity to establish a close cooperation between the national institutions and the UN human rights bodies, such as the Human Rights Council.
Finally, Navi Pillay stressed that national human rights institutions must fulfil the “Paris principles” in order to ensure an effective national system for the protection of human rights. 


A new database on death penalty

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. 


UN expert warns of impact of prolonged Israeli occupation on Palestinian children

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.

European Union obtains the observer state status at the United Nations

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 other regional organizations. Today, the Human Rights Council counts two observers: Holy See and European Union.

Twenty years on from the Windhoek Declaration: Freedom of the press in a changed world

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.


VIDES meets the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous people during his visit in Costa Rica

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.


The Human Rights Council holds Special Session on Syria

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.


46 Salesian Sisters of the Mother Ersilia Canta House (Rome) visit the IIMA Human Rights Office

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 all.

UN Panel begins investigation into the Libyan country

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 measures” to protect civilians.
The UN agencies strengthened all the efforts to intervene in the place more hit of the country and to fulfil medical, food and water priorities.


Salesian sisters visited the IIMA Human Rights Office

 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. 


Sister Rosita, FMA in Argentina, meets the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to adequate housing

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.


Message of the UN Secretary General in occasion of the World Water Day

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 efficiency water management and the access to safe drinking water. On the other hand, the urbanization could overdraw the problems concerning water. Moreover, the problem of access to water is connected to the sanitation issue.
The water problems will be faced during the future UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, in 2012- Rio+20.
Ban Ki-moon concluded calling governments to recognize the urban water crisis as a crisis of governance, weak policies and poor management, rather than one of scarcity.

To read more information, please follow the link below:


UN welcomes the decision of AU to appoint a Special Representative on Women, Peace and Security in the region

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 the UN Security Council to include conflict-related sexual violence as an item of the agenda in their annual meeting.


IIMA Side Event: Right to Education of Children Living and/or Working in the Street- March 4 2011, Geneva

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”.


International Day for the Right to Truth Concerning Victims of Gross Human Rights Violations and Dignity of Victims

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 Dignity of Victims”.  
On the occasion of its first commemoration, on 24 March 2011, the Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, and the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, expressed their support on the key concept that the victims of human rights abuses and their families possess an inalienable right to know the truth about the circumstances concerning the perpetration of heinous crimes against them. Ban Ki-moon emphasized that right to the truth is now provided in the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance which entered into force in December last year. Navi Pillay shared the three fundamental rights to fight against impunity and to restore the dignity of victims: the right to the truth, to justice, and to reparations. In addition, she pointed out the importance of public, independent, and impartial inquiries into gross violations in order to bring out the truth on the suffered violations.


Special Rapporteur on the situation in Iran

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/her to visit the country.

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Climate change and Human Rights

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.


Timor-Leste towards consolidation of peace and development

After the creation of the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) in 2006, the country has taken important steps toward peace and development.

Tunisia: transition to democracy

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.


UN Independent Expert will visit Haiti

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 UN supports global social security

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.


OHCHR: briefing by Margot Wallström srsg Special Representative for disaster risk reduction on sexual Violence in conflict

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 10th session of the Universal Periodic Review

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.


Media restriction in Egypt, “outrageous”

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.

UN calls member states to focus on surging youth

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.


Ban ki-moon encourage the human rights council to act in a constructive and fair way

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.


UN Launches website in memory of the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade

The United Nations recently launched a website to serve as a permanent memorial honouring the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.  

UN declares the first week of February World Interfaith Harmony Week

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”.


Afghanistan signs pact with UN to prevent recruitment of children into armed

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.

"Pledge of never again"

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. 


The Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education visits Senegal

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.