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!


“Human Dignity and Human Rights” - 10th Training Course of IIMA and VIDES International

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 contributing within this system. The training course followed a theoretical and practical approach that combined presentations at the IIMA office with attending meetings of the Human Rights Council at Palais des Nations and of the Human Rights Committee at Palais Wilson (Geneva).


Annual full-day on the rights of the child.

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.

Visit of the General Mother

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 Mendez, Special Rapporteur on Torture, and Margaret Sekaggya, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders.  

Panel on Human Rights Mainstreaming (Geneva, 1 March 2013)

“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, skills and values they need to build a better world”


On March 21, we celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.



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 moment of silence to pray and bless his mandate. The first South American Pope deserves our solidarity and prayers. Long live the Pope!


Today, 8 March, we celebrate the International Women’s Day.

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


Open-Ended Working Group on the Right to Peace

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’Onofrio spoke on behalf of the Institute, underlining the importance of peace education for child development and for protection of human rights as a whole. Moreover, she advocated that, instead of developing new ideas and definitions, the OEWG should define peace education as human rights education with a particular focus on conflict resolution.

The Rabat Plan: Challenging Hatred while Preserving Free Expression

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 across the world.  As the High Commissioner said, “this spiral of violence has made it incumbent on us to renew the search for correct balance between freedom of expression [...] and the equally vital need to protect individuals and communities from discrimination and violence.”