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!


“Stand up for someone's rights today!” – Celebrating Human Rights Day

On this day, 10 December 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Its preamble and thirty articles outline a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations and sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected. Sixty-eight years later, human rights and values are still under attack across the world. However, we the citizens of this world can make a difference by stepping forward and defending the rights of vulnerable people who are at risk of discrimination or violence.

“It’s time for each of us to step up for human rights. There is no action that is too small: wherever you are, you can make a difference. Together, let’s take a stand for more humanity.”

- UN High Commissioner for Human Rights 
Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein

Please click here for more information.

International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime

In September 2015, the UN General Assembly established this day for December 9 because it is the anniversary of the adoption of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the “Genocide Convention”). 

This day raises awareness of the Genocide Convention and its role in combating and preventing the crime of genocide as well as to commemorate and honour its victims.

“The prevention of genocide is a specific obligation under international law. Governments must act on this imperative by investing in prevention and taking preventive action. On this new international observance, let us recognize the need to work together more concertedly to protect individuals from gross human rights violations and uphold our common humanity.” - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Please click here for more information on the Genocide Convention.

Celebrating International Anti-Corruption Day - “We all have a stake in fighting corruption!”

Under UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/58/4, December 9 was designated International Anti-Corruption Day in order to raise awareness of corruption and of the role that the UN Convention against Corruption has in combating and preventing it. Corruption is a severe impediment to economic growth, and a significant challenge for developed, emerging and developing countries. According to the United Nations Development Programme, funds lost to corruption in developing countries are estimated at 10 times the amount of official development assistance provided. No country, region or community is immune from the effects of corruption. For more information on how corruption can affect your daily life and what you can do to tackle the corruption challenge, please click here.


Celebrating International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development

Today we celebrate International Volunteer Day (IVD) as mandated by UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/40/212 in December 1985.  Everyday, volunteers and organizations give their time and resources to promote peace and development in various communities around the world. This day give us an opportunity to acknowledge their efforts and bring recognition to the positive contributions that volunteerism brings to our societies.

"I extend my deepest gratitude to the more than 6,700 United Nations Volunteers, 12,000 United Nations Online Volunteers and the one billion community volunteers worldwide. You are all instrumental to the future of people and the planet. Your commitment and passion can act as inspiration to us all." — UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon

Additional information can be found here.


The Forum on Minority Issues in Times of Humanitarian Crisis

On November 24 and 25, 2016, IIMA attended the 9th Session of the Forum on Minority Issues on "Minorities in situations of humanitarian crises” in Room XX of the Palais des Nations. The forum on minority issues was established, pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 6/15 of 28 September 2007 renewed by resolution 19/23 of 23 March 2012, to provide a platform for promoting dialogue and cooperation on issues pertaining to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, as well as thematic contributions and expertise to the work of the Special Rapporteur on minority issues.


Continuing the Momentum of Youth Rights and Participation at the UN

The first session of the Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law focused on the role of youth in public-decision making. The Forum was established by the Human Rights Council (HRC) through resolution 28/14, adopted on 26 March 2015.  The purpose of the Forum is “to provide a platform for promoting dialogue and cooperation on issues pertaining to the relationship between these areas” and to “identify and analyze best practices, challenges and opportunities for States in their efforts to secure respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law”.  The resolution also decided that the theme of the first session would be “Widening the Democratic Space: the role of youth in public decision-making”. The Forum was co-chaired by Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, and H.E. Ambassador Daniiar Mukashev, Permanent Representative of the Kyrgyz Republic to the UN.  The Forum took place on 21-22 November 2016 in La Salle des Emirats (Room XVII) at Palais des Nations.


The General Assembly Adopts Declaration on the Right to Peace

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 to adopt peace as a right was carried out by UNESCO in 1997. In 2012 i n its 20th session, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 20/15 , which established the Working Group (WG) on the Right to Peace .  Spearheading this WG was Chairperson-Rapporteur Mr. Christian Guillermet, Deputy Permanent Representative of Costa Rica. The WG met for three sessions in 2013, 2014 and 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland. A few days ago t he WG was able to see the success of the adoption of  Resolution A/HRC/32/28, acknowleging the Declaration on the Right to Peace. This Declaration is expected to achieve ratification in December 2016 by the Plenary of the General Assembly.  This is the first peace Declaration to be adopted by the General Assembly in the new millennium.



International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

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 pay this price." Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General.


Human Rights Advocacy: A Cause Worth Committing 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 former intern of the IIMA Human Rights Office, we asked D’Onofrio to share the story of her personal empowerment and how this led her to become a permanent human rights advocate in Geneva.


Seeing the World through the Eyes of the Youth

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 El Salvador. Gang activity in this country is particularly pervasive and street children are most often the victims of recruitment. To address the cycles of violence that are present amongst this vulnerable population, Tierra de Jóvenes works to bring street children’s concerns to the forefront of governmental and international conversations. Tierra de Jóvenes connects street children with medical, social and administrative assistance. However, more than anything, Tierra de Jóvenes focuses on building friendships with these children and youth and provides a listening ear when one is needed.

As a former intern of the IIMA Human Rights Office and being 25 years of age, we asked Mr. Escudero to share the story of his personal empowerment and how this led to the launch of Asociación de Tierra de Jóvenes. 
IIMA: In few words, how would you describe the work of Tierra de Jóvenes?

Simon-Pierre Escudero: The clear goal of our association is not just the protection, but also the promotion of the rights of children working and living on the street. We promote their rights to influence governments and the United Nations. We speak of these children so they may exist and we try to change society through the mechanism of the United Nations. I can work as an educator, but I would only change the reality of one child. Why are these children here? There are very global phenomena behind that question and these phenomena can be changed here in the United Nations.

IIMA: How did you have the idea to start Tierra de Jóvenes and why is it bear that name?

SPE: First, the idea of the street child caught my attention. Probably because my father had been a street child in France…Second, I am French, but I have a Spanish surname. It is assumed that my grandfather or great-grandfather came to France during the civil war in Spain. You could say that I am a “mix between a family destroyed by migration and a super-cohesive family from the country.” My mom is a country woman and my dad is a city man and street child. That gave me good roots and, at the same time, made me ask "why are there so many problems in the world?" My last name (Escudero) brought me to visit Spain, and after Spain I came to Latin America, a place that fascinated me.


91st Session of the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

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 Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) was adopted on December 21, 1965 and entered into force on January 4, 1969.  As of October 2016, there are 177 State Parties to the Convention. Additional information on CERD can be found here.