“Juvenile Justice: Briefing in Observance of the Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child”
Thank you to Fordham University student, Kui Li, for covering this briefing!
This past Thursday’s briefing started when Therese Folkes Plair, Co-Chair of NGO Committee on Children’s Rights, performed a song “Brother Where Are You” by Oscar Brown Jr. Next week, November 20th is the Universal Children’s Day. So this week’s topic is children’s rights.
Faiza Mathon-Mathieu, the Director of Public Policy and Government Relations at ECPAT USA, shared her ideas and experiences on preventing young girl sexual abuse and children trafficking. She proposed three possible measures to relieve these problems on children. First is to advocate to Federal and State authorities. She believed that Federal and State authorities are responsible for protecting children from being abused and trafficked. Second, partnership relation with private sector should be emphasized. If there is more private sector participation, many similar cases can be stopped before happening. Also, education projects are largely in need. Traffickers are mostly from less educated groups. And she cited that 70%-80% trafficked children said they have very close relation with traffickers.
Panelists today also include two law practitioners, Alba Morales and Bryan Stevenson. Alba is a researcher at Human Rights Watch and Bryan is a professor at NYU School of Law. Alba advocated that we need to separate the juvenile justice system from the adult system. We should treat children as children. She also pointed out that children in jail are not allowed to be visited. They are only allowed to talk to their family through the computer. Bryan quoted some statistics. There are 10,000 children today in the adult jail and 3,000 of them will be in jail for life. Also, he mentioned that children who came out from jail are more likely to suicide.
More comments are made in the discussion session. One panelist said that international travel agencies can also play an important role in stopping children trafficking. Also, she pointed out that some schools are trying to get rid of children who have bad scores. Actions need to be taken to change this situation. Ultimately, Bryan addressed the racial issue of children. According to the statistics, he contended, black baby born after the year 2000 has 1/3 chance to go to jail. He remembered that he had to go to color school when he grew up in a south state. He believed that the children don’t need institutions to help them grow. Instead, they need family, parents and siblings to love them.
For more information, go to:
Convention on the Rights of the Child
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
What You Can Do (UNICEF)
Celebrating the 68th Anniversary of the United Nations
On 23 October Kelly Roberts (Assistant Director, Office of International Services at Fordham University and Secretary of the NGO/DPI Executive Committee) and Suzanne Arnold (Fordham’s Youth Representative to the UN and Impact Initiative Student Coordinator) attended the United Nations Association’s 2013 Humanitarian Awards Dinner at the Marriott Essex House in New York. The dinner honored Norbert Reithofer, Chairman and CEO of BMW Group. Additionally, Madame Secretary Madeleine Albright gave a wonderful keynote address.
To read more about the event, and to see more pictures, please visit: http://unanyc.org/news/2013/20131023_unany_awards_dinner.html
“Perspectives on Transformative Governance and the African Agenda 2063:
A Dialogue with the Diaspora, NGOs, Women, Youth and Academia at the UN”
Thank you to Fordham University student, Kui Li, for writing this piece about this exciting briefing!
This week, the United Nations’ briefing discussed issues on transformative governance and African Agenda 2063, an agenda that calls for the collaboration of African society to build a prosperous and united Africa. Africa is the origin of the human civilization and is a land of flourished cultures. In the past a few decades, African countries have one after another established their independence. Recent years, many of them have witnessed the top economic growth in the world. This year, African Union (i.e. Organization of African Unity, OAU) is celebrating its 50th anniversary. This week’s briefing invited participants representing diaspora, NGOs, women, youth and academia. Meaningful and wide discussions took place at this briefing.
Professor James Braxton Peterson, the Director of African Studies at Lehigh University, opened the conversation by raising the following questions: where should Africa move 50 years from now? Where do we need to be? What are the opportunities and challenges in the future?
Mr. Maged A. Abdelaziz, the Special Advisor on Africa (OSAA), then took over the topic. He believed that political stability, sustainable development, inequality, anti-corruption and human rights are among the most critical issues Africa faces in the future. Interestingly, he pointed out that Africa is the youngest continent because around 70% of the African population consists of youth under 30 years old. So he stressed the importance of education and opportunities for the young generations.
Ambassador Fatuma Ndangiza Nyirakobwa and Ambassador Ashraf Rashed from African Peer Review Panel of Eminent Person talked about the history, objective and value of APRM (African Peer Review Mechanism). They believed that information sharing and cultural inclusiveness in the civil society and APRM will be crucial factors that drive Africa forward in the future. In addition, Ambassador Rashed admitted that limited public awareness on African issues is a big challenge and is what we have to work together to change.
Interactions between panelists and the audience are a big bright spot of this dialogue. Questions on various issues were put forward including involvement of youth, weapon transferring, arm trade, transparency, child soldier, the use of social media, human trafficking, youth unemployment, balance between culture reservation and development, Africa-China relation, human resource outflow, etc. Dr. Mustapha Mekideche, a panelist with PhD degree in economics, stressed that there is no “under-developed” country any more. His passion and opinion won a wide consensus among the participants. He also believed that to reduce youth unemployment, a reconsideration of current school curriculum is necessary. To answer a student’s concern on the prevalence of Chinese products in Africa, he cited the fact that it is the United States that’s China’s biggest trading partner, not Africa. And he added that Africa also attracts investors from the United States, Europe, Japan, etc.
Ultimately, Mr. Assefa Shifa, the CEO of the APRM Secretariat, concluded the meeting by stating that not a single party can move Africa forward. So he called on the work-together of all parties including the civil society. To make a contribution to a better future of our brothers and sisters in Africa, we the youth also should take our responsibility to think and act!
A “Global Interactive Dialogue” with
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Envoy on Youth
Yesterday, 5 August 2013, a very interesting and innovative event took place at the United Nations as part of the “UNiting for Youth” initiative. The event was a “Global Interactive Dialogue” with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi. Additionally, there was a panel of high-level UN personnel, consisting of Ms. Laskhmi Puri, the Acting Head of UN Women; Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA Executive Director; Dr. Sima Bahous, Assistant Secretary-General and Director for Arab States at UNDP; and Mr. Charles Dan, Special Representative of the ILO on Youth and Social Inclusion.
The dialogue truly was a global one, for Youth from Nigeria, India, Belgium, Lebanon and Brazil participated via live video stream (see picture below). Therefore, they were able to voice their opinions and ask their questions. It was a special thing to hear Youth around the world ask questions to the Secretary-General and then see him answer. Mr. Ban Ki-moon even said a few remarks in the native languages of the participating countries, earning him many laughs and smiles of appreciation.
Throughout the event, Mr. Ban Ki-moon emphasized that the United Nations is beginning to work more with the Youth population. For example, in January, Mr. Ban Ki-moon appointed the first ever Envoy on Youth, Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi (to learn more, visit http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=43944 and for updates and events, visit https://www.facebook.com/UNYouthEnvoy). Additionally, a new UN Youth website will launch at the end of the month, unveiling a new strategy for Youth development, among other things.
The main theme of the event, however, was that the UN yearns to participate more with the Youth, encouraging their participation, and fostering their voices. Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, encouragingly stated: “I am here to hear from you”. And, he literally was, for he soon began to take questions from the audiences. The Youth in Nigeria were concerned with health and energy, whereas the Youth in Belgium asked about Youth unemployment. The Youth in India voiced concern about education, particularly access to secondary education. The Brazilian Youth asked what the UN was doing with regards to the extreme violence and crime in their country. The Youth in Lebanon spoke about the deep-rooted issue of governance.
Ultimately, the event highlighted the solidarity, power, and presence of the world’s Youth. It also reassured the Youth population that the United Nations is indeed taking steps to better communicate and interact with them, helping address and solve problems, questions and concerns in a real and effective way. The audiences were quite moved and surprised at how long the Secretary-General stayed at the event, but also by how much he participated in the dialogue. This showed his commitment to, and interest in, the Youth, really legitimizing the entire “UNiting for Youth” initiative.
One of the panelists mentioned that the Youth holds incredible power to enact change and stimulate conversation. But, interestingly, this panelist noted that today’s Youth do not use this power enough, or effectively enough. So, what can we do to effectively yield our power to enact change? How can we better work with the UN and the Envoy on Youth to voice our opinions and begin the problem solving?
For more information on this event, please visit: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=45560&Cr=youth&Cr1=.
Impact Initiative Student Coordinator
“Take Action, Inspire Change”
July 18th marks Nelson Mandela International Day. To commemorate this occasion, the United Nations is distributing pledge cards where people can pledge “67 MINUTES of public service on 18 July to honour Nelson Mandela’s 67 YEARS of service to humanity”.
If you do not have a pledge card, you can post your pledge on the UN DPI/NGO Partners4Change Facebook Page. Or, you can always make a personal pledge with your family and friends. (If interested in posting on Facebook, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/UNDPINGOsPartners4Change?fref=ts).
The important thing, however, is to simply take the time to remember the incredibly important work of Nelson Mandela. Hand in hand, try to make the effort to give back to society, in one way or another. You could volunteer at a local school, work a shift at a soup kitchen, or even pick up litter in your neighborhood. There are endless possibilities!
So, what will you do to honor Nelson Mandela’s 67 years of service?
Impact Initiative Student Coordinator
2013 Rhythms of One World Concert Fundraiser
On Sunday, June 30th The Friendship Ambassador’s Foundation hosted a concert featuring two wonderful youth choirs from Salt Lake City, Utah. The concert was held at the Merkin Concert Hall and acted as a fundraiser in support of the NGOs associated with the United Nations’ Department of Public Information.
After many wonderful Glee-like medleys, the choirs sung Rhythms of One World, a song specially written for the festival. And, much to the delight of the audience, Ambassador Simona-Mirela Miculescu, the Permanent Representative of Romania to the United Nations, went on stage to join in. It certainly was a terrific and festive finale!
For more information on the Rhythms of One World Music Festival, please visit: http://faf.org/main/special-highlight-the-rhythms-of-one-world-2014/.
Impact Initiative Student Coordinator