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First Global Thematic Webinar: Social Justice–Racial Justice, Migration Justice, and Health Justice (A CoNGO 75th Anniversary Event)

2 March 2023 @ 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM UTC-5





Thursday | March 2, 2023 | | 9:30 AM to 12:00 PM EST, 15h30 to 18h CET

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The Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO) invites you to the first of six global thematic webinars marking its 75th anniversary in 2023 under the overall theme “Defining the present, shaping the future, and making the change, now.” This first webinar in a series of six starts with a focus on Social Justice: migration justice, racial justice, and health justice.


Social justice—or the astonishing lack of it for many people and communities worldwide—is one of the fundamental issues of our time. No country, city, or place has achieved the common human expectation of social justice for all its inhabitants.  Social justice can be characterized as including full respect for the human rights of all persons; equality of treatment and opportunity; non-discrimination on any prohibited grounds (including color, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, etc.); universal health care; decent work; minimum basic income; decent living conditions; social protection; access to justice for all; peace and human security for all; and a safe and healthy environment.

The UN General Assembly resolution establishing the World Day for Social Justice stated: “The General Assembly recognizes that social development and social justice are indispensable for the achievement and maintenance of peace and security within and among nations and that, in turn, social development and social justice cannot be attained in the absence of peace and security or the absence of respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

The international system embodied by the United Nations and regional community organizations has elaborated binding conventions and other instruments that set out minimum standards and obligations to realize those standards regarding the abovementioned concerns. International supervisory and review mechanisms have been established to support the national implementation of these standards.

Many civil society organizations advocate for and support achieving social justice at local, national, regional, and global levels—with some level of activity in nearly all countries.

The 8 October 2021 Civil Society Summit on Substantive Issues “Shaping the Future: The UN We Need for the World We Want,” organized by CoNGO, highlighted social justice among the significant global critical concerns of all humanity: Human dignity and human rights; Sustainable development and humanitarian action; Peace and threats to the security of people and the planet; Social justice, including migration, racism, and health; Gender justice, youth, and intergenerational solidarity. That summit further emphasized the importance of UN-NGO relations—enhancing multilateralism, ensuring access, and protecting civic space and discourse….

However, contemporary knowledge and evidence indicate that contrary to universal aspirations and normative standards, levels and extent of injustice, violations of human rights, discrimination, and violence on the grounds of color, perceived race, ethnicity, nationality, and national origin, as well as gender, age, etc.; exclusion; indecent working conditions even forced labour; lack of extension of social protection; absence of access to justice; etc. are manifest to greater or less extent in every country.

The Civil Society Summit on Substantive Issues brought together over 1,000 participants worldwide to contribute experience and competences, share doubts about our current world, and collectively articulate aspirations and proposals for the world we want and must achieve. The Civil Society Summit was rich in outlining concepts and actions needed to shape the future.

As a direct outcome, the CoNGO General Assembly resolved to use the outcome of the Summit—the Synthesis Report—as a substantive basis for CoNGO’s programmatic direction, especially highlighting it in 2023, CoNGO’s 75th anniversary year. It agreed to convene a series of six high-level global thematic webinars over the course of 2023 to highlight and engage the global constituency on the critical themes articulated at the Summit and to elaborate on the agenda, responses, and actions necessary to shape a future of human rights, social justice, non-discrimination, peace, sustainable development, human and environmental security, and gender justice and inter-generational solidarity for all.


The CoNGO Board, meeting in March 2022, agreed to turn the six thematic clusters of the Summit into the six thematic clusters of its programmatic directions for the leadership term 2021-2025.  The subsequent board meeting mandated the coalition to organize global thematic webinars addressing those clusters.

The inaugural webinar focuses on Social Justice, with subthemes on Migration Justice, Racial Justice, and Health Justice. This thematic webinar proceeds along the lines articulated by the UN General Assembly on the World Day of Social Justice and the CoNGO Civil Society Summit iterated above. The webinar will identify what areas of change and action are needed, what should be undertaken now, and by whom.

The Synthesis Report from the 2021 Summit graphically referred to these sub-themes: “Slavery, colonialism, racism, militarism, xenophobia, homophobia, ageism, patriarchy, misogyny… are historic injustices that must be combated, and their intersecting complicities {must} be exposed. We must multiply our efforts at eliminating structural and systemic racism…” and discrimination.

The treatment of migrants and refugees in many situations worldwide represents egregious violations and denial of human rights and rights at work, belying the growing dependence of economies and societies worldwide on the international mobility of people –skills, and labour—for sustainable development and well-being. “We heard migrants assert their voice and agency, saying, ‘For a long time, others spoke on our behalf. Now we speak for ourselves.’ Indeed, migrants and refugees must be at the table when their human rights, needs, and concerns are at stake…

The COVID-19 pandemic and our responses have exacerbated the vast gulfs in achieving the human right to the highest attainable physical and mental health standard for all.  Three years on, the pandemic has yet to be resolved, let alone the preparedness of nations and communities to meet future pandemics. “The COVID-19 situation further illustrates the interests of the few taking precedence over the needs of the many. A cardinal principle should be prioritizing people and the planet over profit.”


 9:30 AM: Welcome Remarks

 Dr. Liberato Bautista (President of CoNGO)

 Ms. Gillian Sorensen (Co-Chair, CoNGO 75th Anniversary Committee, and Former UN Assistant Secretary-General for External Relations)

 Brig. Gen. Patrick Rea (Co-Chair, CoNGO 75th Anniversary Committee, and International Grandmaster Emeritus of OSMTH)


9:50 AM: Keynote Speeches

Ms. Helga Konrad (former Federal Minister for Women’s Affairs of the Republic of Austria and a leading expert on human trafficking)

Ms. Anna Biondi (Deputy Director, Bureau for Workers’ Activities, International Labour Organization – ILO)

10:12 AM: Q & A (Questions must be posted on Zoom Q&A and directed to a specific speaker. Questions that will not be answered will be emailed to the speaker).


10:17 AM: Migration Justice (Rapporteur: Ms. Cecilie Kern, Mercy International Association)

 Ms. Eni Lestari (President, International Migrants Alliance, and Indonesian domestic worker in Hong Kong )

 Mr. Patrick Taran (President, Global Migration Policy Associates)

10:36 AM: Q & A (Questions must be posted on Zoom Q&A and directed to a specific speaker. Questions that will not be answered will be emailed to the speaker).


10:41AM Racial Justice (Rapporteur: Ms. Dorothy Davis, Congressional Black Caucus Institute)

Ms. Catherine S. Namakula (Chair, United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent)

Dr. Edna Maria Santos Roland (Chair, United Nations Group of Independent Eminent Experts on the Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Plan of Action)

11:00 AM: Q & A (Questions must be posted on Zoom Q&A and directed to a specific speaker. Questions that will not be answered will be emailed to the speaker). 


11:06 AM: Health Justice (Rapporteur: Dr. Gill Adynski, International Council of Nurses)

 Prof. Dr. Marianne Legato (Founder, Gender-specific Medicine, Professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons)

 Dr. Pamela Cipriano (President, International Council of Nurses)

11:25 AM: Q & A (Questions must be posted on Zoom Q&A and directed to a specific speaker. Questions that will not be answered will be emailed to the speaker).

11:31 AM: Special feature: Celebration of Dr. Franklin Shaffer, Former CEO of CGFNS International and CoNGO Board Secretary

11:30    Dr. Liberato Bautista (CoNGO President)

11:33   Dr. Holly Shaw (International Council of Nurses, Chair of NGO Committee on Mental Health, and NGO Committee on Education, Learning, and Literacy)

11:38   Mukul Bakhshi, Esq. (Chief of Strategy and Government Affairs CGFNS International, Inc.)

11:44   Response: Dr. Franklin Shaffer

11:50 AM Report by Webinar Lead Rapporteur

Mr. Cyril Ritchie (CoNGO First Vice President)

11:57 PM Closing Remarks

Dr. Liberato Bautista (President of CoNGO)

 Webinar Co-sponsors

Congressional Black Caucus Institute, General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, Global Migration Policy Associates, International Council of Nurses, NGO Committee on Migration, National Council of Negro Women, Pan Pacific South East Asia Women’s Association, STUF United Fund, Thadhani Foundation


   Social Justice

  1. ILO: A Global Coalition for Social Justice.–en/index.htm?msdynttrid=0BYLeiS-wduhwzUlSNJ-9-d0cWAB4UJQxkz4Es1KHAY
  2. UN World Day for Social Justice: 2023 Theme: Overcoming Barriers and Unleashing Opportunities for Social Justice.
  3. Co-building an Ecosocial World. Liberato C. Bautista.


  1. Migration, Human Rights & Sustainable Economies: A Century 21 Agenda. Patrick A. Taran, in Revista Tecnológica – Espol, 34(1), Guayaquil, Ecuador 2022.
  2. COVID-19, Migrants, Refugees, Mobile Workers: Global Assessment and Action Agenda. Patrick A Taran & Olga Kadysheva (2022). Revista Tecnológica – Espol, 34(1), Guayaquil
  3. Talking and Doing Points: Churches Witnessing With Migrants.

Racism and Racial Discrimination

  1. Report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance: Ecological Crisis, Climate Justice and Racial Justice. E. Tendayi Achiume. UN document A/77/549.
  2. Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent to the Human Rights Council: The Human rights situation of people of African descent remains an urgent concern.
  3. Migrant workers and discrimination: realities, threats, and remedies. August Gachter (2022) in Revista Tecnológica – Espol, 34(1), Guayaquil, Ecuador.
  4. International Standards Against Racism and All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

Health Justice

11. WHO: Closing the gap in a generation: health equity through action on the social determinants of health. 

  1. Civil society organizations calling for vaccine access and equity for all.
  2. The Social Determinants of Health.

CoNGO Resources

  1. CoNGO Civil Society Summit on Substantive Issues.
  2. Synthesis Report of the CoNGO Civil Society Summit on Substantive Issues.
  3. CoNGO Declaration on the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations.



Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO)
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