The 2020 International Day of Rural Women, celebrated on October 15, will focus on “Building rural women’s resilience in the wake of COVID-19”, to create awareness of these women’s struggles, their needs, and their critical and key role in our society. The crucial role that women and girls play in ensuring the sustainability of rural communities has been increasingly recognized. Women account for a substantial proportion of the agricultural labor force, including informal work, and perform unpaid care and domestic work within families in rural areas. They make significant contributions to...

October 11 marks the International Day of the Girl Child, which was established in 2011 by the United Nations General Assembly through the adoption of Resolution 66/170. This particular focus on the girl is a recognition that every child, in particular  every girl, has the dignity to be respected and the rights to be protected. It was the Fourth World Conference on Women held in 1995 in Beijing, China, that highlighted  the right  of every girl. The conference culminated in the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action: the most...

Since 1994, World Teachers’ Day is held annually on 5 October to commemorate the anniversary of the adoption of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers (https://en.unesco.org/themes/teachers/ceart ), which sets benchmarks regarding the rights and responsibilities of teachers and standards for their initial preparation and further education, recruitment, employment, and teaching and learning conditions. In 2020, World Teachers’ Day will be dedicated to the theme “Teachers: Leading in crisis, reimagining the future”, providing the occasion to celebrate the teaching profession and draw attention to the voices of teachers worldwide. This...

On September 9, 2020, we will commemorate, for the first time, the International Day to Protect Education from Attack. The General Assembly resolution establishing the International Day affirms that governments have the primary responsibility to provide protection and ensure inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels to all learners, especially those in vulnerable situations. Between 2015 and 2019, 93 countries experienced at least one reported attack on education and more than 22,000 students, teachers, and academics were injured, killed, or harmed in attacks on education during armed conflict or insecurity. Among...

On September 8, we celebrate the International Literacy Day. Established in 1966 by UNESCO, it reminds the international community of the importance of literacy for individuals, communities and societies, and the need for intensified efforts towards more literate societies. Nowadays, the alarming data of 773 million adults and young people lacking basic literacy skills and 617 million children and adolescents not achieving minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics show how literacy still remains a critical challenge. In particular, the International Literacy Day 2020 focuses on “Literacy teaching and learning in the...

Since 1999, the UN General Assembly has declared the 12th of August as the International Youth Day, an opportunity to celebrate and mainstream young peoples’ voices, actions and initiatives, as well as their meaningful, universal and equitable engagement and participation in political, economic and social life and processes. This year, the International Youth Day will focus on “Youth Engagement for Global Action”, seeking to highlight the ways in which the engagement of young people at the local, national and global levels is enriching national and multilateral institutions and processes, as well...

IIMA and VIDES Human Rights Office is currently participating remotely in the 44th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (30 June – 17 July 2020). An oral statement was delivered through video message on July 3 during the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education (Item 3). In their statement, IIMA and VIDES welcomed the Report of the Special Rapporteur addressing the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the right to education (A/HRC/44/39). Indeed, the health crisis has aggravated pre-existing inequalities in education, especially for those...

On June 24, 2020, IIMA members from East Asia met online to discuss the topic on how to “guarantee the right to education in the time of the pandemic”. The meeting was moderated by Sarah Garcia, IIMA Main Representative at the UN and Director of IIMA Human Rights Office in Geneva. IIMA members and educators from Cambodia, Myanmar, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam attended the meeting.  “One of the biggest challenges of the current situation is ensuring education for all. This meeting is a...

We are saddened to hear of the passing of Augusta Ngombu – Gboli. Augusta leaves a legacy of hope, resiliency, and transformation. Orphaned as a child and living on the streets in Sierra Leone, Agusta was forced into prostitution in order to survive.  However, with the help of the Salesian mission of Don Bosco Fambul, Augusta turned her life around. Augusta went back to school, where she discovered her talents and potential. She finished her studies in the culinary arts and opened her own restaurant.  She also became an instructor at...

On Friday 5th June 2020, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, presented to the NGO representatives the UN Human Rights Report, which is the annual report on the human rights’ work realized by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) around the world for 2019. In her introduction, Mrs. Bachelet underlined that the 2019 report demonstrates how the Office supports States to uphold human rights in the context of eroding multilateralism, in spite of the new threats to civic space and ever more complex climate for...