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!


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.