The United Nations Human Rights Council held its forty-sixth regular session from 22 February to 23 March 2021 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.  It started off with a high-level segment from 22 to 24 February where dignitaries representing more than 130 countries addressed the Council on their governments’ efforts to promote and protect human rights. It was held for the first time entirely online. This session also welcomed the new president, Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan of Fiji.  It was opened with speeches from Secretary-General of the United Nations, António...

Every year, on the 8th of March, we celebrate International Women’s Day, an event promoted by the United Nations in order to celebrate the progress reached by women in the economic, political, and cultural fields. The theme proposed for 2021 is: “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”. This celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign slogan is: “Choose to challenge”. It is important to know this celebration as...

IIMA Members from PNG, Sr. Pamela Vecina and Sr. Alice Fulgencio, participated at the in-country consultation for Papua New Guinea’s Universal Periodic Review held at Emmaus Conference Center, Port Moresby, from February 15-17, 2021. They represented the Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice (IIMA). A total of twenty five representatives of various NGOs working on several human rights issues across the country attended the conference. The three-day conference-workshop was a project sponsored by the International Catholic Center of Geneva (CCIG). The project’s aim is to help civil society actors to acquire a methodology...

The 37th Universal Periodic Review Working Group (UPRWG) Session was held from the 18th to the 29th of January 2021. The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a mechanism of the Human Rights Council that reviews the human rights situation of each of the 193 UN Member States once every 4 ½ years. It provides an opportunity for all States to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and which recommendations they will have to implement before the next review. Istituto Internazionale Maria...

On December 12, 2020, the network of the nine Institutions of Higher Studies of the Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice (ISS-FMA) Asia organized an online Conference on “Human Trafficking - A violation of Human Rights”. There were approximately 800 participants, mainly students and some faculty members coming from India, the Philippines, and Japan. The event, which marked the observance of Human Rights Day, aimed to raise awareness on one of the most extensive forms of modern slavery, that is, Trafficking in Person (T.I.P.). Dr. Regina Mary Rathinaswamy,  Core Group Member of ISS...

Geneva, Switzerland - December 10, 2020 The theme of this year’s Human Rights Day observance: Recover Better – Stand Up for Human Rights, is closely related to the Covid-19 pandemic, the greatest challenge of our times. It highlights the “need to build back better by ensuring Human Rights are central to recovery efforts”. The Covid-19 crisis has unmasked the fact that human rights are far from being universal. In fact, we are confronted by deepening poverty, inequalities, injustice, discrimination, exclusion, destruction of the environment, and structural gaps in human rights protection. The...

November 20 marks the anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989. Since then, the World Children’s Day offers each of us an important occasion to advocate, promote and celebrate children's rights towards the realization of a better world for children. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has very negatively impacted the enjoyment of children’s rights worldwide. The health crisis has aggravated pre-existing inequalities in education, especially for those children at risk of digital exclusion or with special needs. Despite the best...

In view of the world event Global Compact on Education, wanted by Pope Francis, which took place online on October 15, 2020, IIMA contributed to a video on the plural reality of Catholic education in the world, through a short video on moving forward the Global Youth Agenda. This contribution is based on the longstanding commitment of IIMA Human Rights Office in promoting Youth Empowerment and Human Rights through multiple advocacy activities within several UN human rights bodies and in especially the Human Rights Council. To learn more about IIMA work on Youth rights,...

On October 29, 2020, IIMA Human Rights Office participated in the Online Training organized by the International Catholic Center of Geneva (CCIG) and UPR Info on “Human Rights Indicators for Monitoring UPR Progress”. The training aimed to highlight the crucial role of Civil Society Organizations (CSO) in the monitoring of the government’s action on the UPR Recommendations, through the use of Human Rights Indicators. The latter are specifically designed to measure whether Human Rights are effectively implemented within a given State, especially for the most vulnerable groups. In order to ensure...

The United Nations Human Rights Council held its forty-fifth session from 14 September to 6 October 2020 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, opened the session by providing updates of the human rights situations worldwide and by leading an interactive dialogue on the human rights implications on the COVID-19 Pandemic. Statements by the International Labour Organization, World Health Organization, among other speakers, all highlighted the crucial impact of the pandemic on vulnerable populations including: children, women, indigenous peoples, people with disabilities,...