slavery

Torture in Our Name: A Moral Call to End Solitary Confinement

Please join us for a film screening and discussion about how survivors of solitary confinement and religious communities are working together to abolish torture once and for all. Join live via Zoom or Facebook!

Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_hIAox0YhQOCLvRJgLqxMHA

Religions for Peace (RFP) USA is the largest and most broadly-based representative multi-religious forum in the United States, with participants from more than 50 religious communities, representing each of the major faith traditions. The organization identifies shared commitments among religious communities in the U.S., enhances mutual understanding among these communities, and facilitates collaboration to address issues of common concern.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bknotts@uua.org or bobbinassar@yahoo.com. For more information on the Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations, please visit crngo.wordpress.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Spirituality, Values, and Global Concerns, please visit csvgc-ny.org. For more information on the Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, please visit crimealliance.org

Mobilizing Moral Influence and Governance to End the Systemic Injustices of Racism, the Legacy of Colonialism and Slavery

8th Annual Symposium on the Role of Religion and Faith-Based Organizations
in International Affairs

Mobilizing Moral Influence and Governance to End the Systemic Injustices of Racism, the Legacy of Colonialism and Slavery
25 January 2022
8:00 – 12:30 EDT

Click here to register

PROGRAM

Moderators for the Day: Ms. Quinn Wonderling, Senior Coordinator of United Nations and International Affairs, General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church and Rev. Audri Scott Williams, Global Peace Walker and Spiritual Director of the Spiritual Enrichment Center in Dothan, AL, USA

8:00 Welcome and Housekeeping
Outline of the purpose and agenda for the Symposium

8:10 Opening Session: Perspectives from the UN system, government and faith organizations on their work to increase the urgency and saliency of the issue and integrate efforts to overcome systemic injustices in their work

  • H.E. Alice Wairimu Nderitu, Special Adviser of the UN Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide 
  • H.E. Mr. Miguel Angel Moratinos, High Representative of the UN Alliance of Civilizations 
  • Member State Representative (TBC)
  • Ms. Diene Keita, UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNFPA Deputy Executive Director (Programme)
  • Dr. Azza Karam, General Secretary, Religions for Peace 
  • Mr. Rudelmar Bueno De Faria, ACT Alliance Secretary General 

8:55 Session 2: Deepening understanding of how pernicious and all-encompassing racism, and the legacy of colonialism and slavery remain today

Moderator:  Rabbi Burton Visotzky, Jewish Theological Seminary

Support: Simon Chambers, ACT Alliance

Panelists:

  • Dr. Ganoune Diop, General Secretary, International Religious Liberty Association
  • Ms. Manjula Pradeep, Human rights activist and lawyer, Gujarat, India
  • Ms. Sara Hamood, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva
  • Ms. Hayley Ramsay-Jones, Representative to the UN, Soka Gakkai International, Geneva
  • Dr. Sanjoy Bhattacharya, Professor, University of York, UK, and Head, WHO Collaborating Center for Global Health Histories 

10:00 Session 3:  Showcasing innovative experiences and concrete actions for positive change change throughout the international community

Moderator: Rev. Philip Vinod Peacock, Executive for Justice and Witness, World Communion of Reformed Churches

Support: Ms. Donna Bollinger, Advocacy Officer, World Council of Churches

Panelists:

  • Ms. Miriam Ekiudoko, UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent
  • Dr. Masiiwa Gunda, Programme Executive for Programmatic Responses on Overcoming Racism, World Council of Churches 
  • Ms. Maytha Alhassen, Religion and Public Life in Media and Entertainment Fellow, Harvard University, Co-Executive producer, Ramy
  • Mr. Tahil Sharma, North America Regional Coordinator, United Religions Initiative (URI)
  • Ms. Ruth Messinger, former President of American Jewish World Service (AJWS)

Q & A

11:05 Session 4: The panel aims to promote policy recommendations and practical steps to strengthen partnerships among diverse stakeholders, including faith-based organizations, the UN System, and non-governmental entities in different regions. The panel will focus on how to turn our analyses about the historic injustices and legacies of slavery, colonialism and racism into effective campaigns for justice by faith-based and religious bodies and into public policies implemented by governments and multilateral bodies. Giving examples of what is already being done along these lines through your organization and experience will be a must.

Moderator: Rev. Dr. Liberato Bautista, Assistant General Secretary, UN and International Affairs-General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church and President, Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the UN

Support: Ms. Monica Willard, United Religions Initiative

Panelists:

  • H.E. Ambassador Francisco Duarte Lopes, Permanent Representative of Portugal to the UN in New York
  • Dr. Abbas Barzegar, Director, The Horizon Forum
  • Mr. Cooper Christiancy, JD, Research and Advocacy Advisor to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism
  • Ms. Vanessa Griddine-Jones, JD, LL.M., Executive Director, Congressional Black Caucus Institute
  • Ms. Audrey Kitagawa, JD, President/Founder of the International Academy for Multicultural Cooperation 
  • Dr. Abubakar Kabwogi, Founding Secretary General, Africa Council of  Religious Leaders

Q&A

12:10 Concluding Remarks 

Drawing from the Symposium discussions, highlighting key points and recommendations to end the systemic injustices of racism, the legacy of colonialism and slavery

  • Ms. Quinn Wonderling and Ms. Audri Scott Williams, Symposium Moderators
  • Dr. Ryan Smith, Chair, Symposium Planning Group and Programme Executive, Ecumenical Office to the UN and Representative to UN Headquarters
  • Ms. Ana Jimenez, UN Inter-agency Task Force on Religion and Sustainable Development

MORE ABOUT THE SYMPOSIUM:

The 8th Annual Symposium on the Role of Religion and Faith-based Organizations in International Affairs, entitled
“Mobilizing Moral Influence and Governance to End the Systemic Injustices of Racism, the legacy of Colonialism and Slavery”, will be held virtually 8:00 – 12:30 EDT on Tuesday 25 January 2022.

This edition of the Symposium will focus on the urgent need to transform our world, exposing and redressing the systemic injustices of racism, colonialism and slavery that continue to pervade all aspects of society – local, national and international.  As a common table bringing together institutions of governance and of moral and cultural influence, it will explore how the lingering historical injustices shape the social inequalities that have been exposed by crises of global proportions including Covid-19.

The Symposium also aims to contribute to a move towards healing and reconciling our world. It will identify solutions and concrete recommendations for how the UN and governments, in partnership with religious bodies, faith-based groups and other stakeholders, can foster an antiracist and anticolonialist society – a society based on the genuine embrace of the whole human family as one humanity, bound by the imperative of respect of every person’s dignity and inalienable worth.

Context 

Racism and concomitant concerns of racial discrimination and xenophobia, colonialism and redress for historic slavery, as well as ending modern-day forms of slavery have become highly topical.

From the United Nations Security Council and Human Rights Council’s hearing from human rights and land defenders to movements against systemic injustices like Black Lives Matter to the recognition of graves of indigenous children, the world cannot ignore the history and necessity for changes in the systems that allowed and encouraged abuses to occur.

The International Decade for People of African Descent, which began in 2015, is drawing to a close.  2021 is the twentieth anniversary of the World Conference Against Racism held in Durban, South Africa.  And on September 21, 2021, UN Secretary-General António Guterres submitted his report ‘Our Common Agenda’ to the General Assembly which states that “New approaches to proactively support the participation in public affairs of those who have traditionally been marginalized, including minority and indigenous groups, are also necessary.”

When it comes to addressing the lingering transgenerational traumas of slavery, several remarkable projects have seen the day, including the UNESCO project “Healing the Wounds of Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and Slavery”. There is also the multiplication of commissions for truth and reconciliation showing unprecedented determination and global mobilization to address the scourge of racism. The upcoming Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022 – 2032) will focus on indigenous language users’ human rights. These, and many more initiatives, all provide immediate occasions for faith-based organizations to partner with UN agencies to contribute to the healing of people and the planet, and of international relations.

Shaping a just, inclusive, and sustainable future for the human family and the planet we all inhabit is a common task.  Sounding a wake-up call, “Our Common Agenda” emphatically warned that “We need a pathway that protects people and the planet, allowing for sustainable development. This means broad shifts in what prosperity and progress mean, how to incentivize and measure them, and how to evaluate policies.” Addressing the intersecting pandemics and crises must be aimed at the achievement of a truly intercultural, multireligious, and pluralistic world.

Injustices have been done to real people, real nations, and the planet we share. The healing of our world and redressing the legacy of colonialism must be global, multilateral, intercultural, and multifaceted. Antiracism is a commitment to protect human rights and a sustainable future. We cannot postpone action.

Inequalities are forcing public institutions to revisit other crises that are intersecting with racism. Public discourse today is much more welcoming of a re-examination of people and institutions and their entanglement and complicity with racism, colonialism, and slavery.

Today, international institutions, governments, and religions have the historic opportunity and responsibility to address the multiplicity of injustices—local and international, global and planetary. With our heightened awareness of the intersecting character of these crises, analysed through the lens of gender, race, class, sexuality, ethnicity, and indeed of culture and religion, the time of reckoning is upon us.

Today, racism and attendant issues actively subverts our best imagination of what makes for peace and justice, for mercy and compassion, for dignity and equality. We must reverse course and redress historic grievances and forge a new future.

The self-appropriated rights to possess indigenous minds, lands and other resources have been embraced by religions and faith-based institutions embodied through policies based on manifest destiny, exceptionalism, and the Doctrine of Discovery.

Increasing signs of building a better future appear when religions, religious institutions and philosophies are unashamedly repudiating their past complicities with slavery, colonialism and racism. It is equally a sign of enlightened maturity for nations to recognize and repudiate their violent past of colonial aggressions, of abuses, and of violations of people’s human rights and the integrity of their communities.

The Symposium will address the ways in which the historic injustice of slavery, colonialism, and racism have lingered in our midst and exacerbate the many current challenges facing our world. It will explore how forms of ethnocentrism, tribalism, casteism, classism and colorism damage human relations and how such relations have been put asunder by classifications of power and supremacy, of superiority and inferiority, among human beings and their communities.

To overcome and abolish the intersecting crises brought about by slavery, racism, and colonialism, we must go beyond symptoms to the root causes. Addressing these crises, in fact, is a condition sine qua non for the healing that is desperately needed on all levels. The role of religion,  as much as nation-states, in these intersecting historic and contemporary pandemics and crises are tangible.

Revisiting the various slaveries, colonialisms and racism in their historic intersections and social intersectionality will provide unique perspectives regarding how they have brought much suffering, lingering inter- and transgenerational traumas and deaths, not only of people of African descent but also indigenous peoples and peoples of color.

Antiracism must be one of the common goals in which the UN and its multilateral bodies work together on with religious and faith-based organizations.

The 2022 edition of the Annual Symposium is promoted by:
World Council of Churches
United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC)
United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
General Board of Church and Society, United Methodist Church
Milstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue
Islamic Relief USA
ACT Alliance
Seventh-Day Adventist Church
United Religions Initiative
Soka Gakkai International

High-level meeting of the GA on the Appraisal of the UN Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons

Special Accreditation for the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the appraisal of the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons

Pursuant to General Assembly resolutions 75/283, a high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the appraisal of the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons will be held from 22 to 23 November 2021, at the United Nations Headquarters, in New York.

PARTICIPATION

In accordance with General Assembly resolution 75/283, representatives of non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council will be invited to participate in the high-level meeting in accordance with the established practice of the General Assembly.

*If you are a representative of an ECOSOC accredited NGO, please contact the NGO Branch of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs for the details.

Furthermore, in accordance with the same resolution, the President of the General Assembly will draw up a list of other relevant representatives of non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, academic institutions and the private sector who may attend the high-level meeting, taking into account the principles of transparency and equitable geographical representation, with due regard for the meaningful participation of women, in accordance with the established practice of the General Assembly. The President of the General Assembly will submit the list to Member States for their consideration, in accordance with General Assembly resolution  75/283. The application for special accreditation is now open until 14 October 2021.

Learn more and register here: https://indico.un.org/event/36771/

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons, please visit ngocstip.org. This committee is independent from CoNGO’s substantive committees. For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bobbinassar@gmail.com or bknotts@uua.org. 

Stemming the role of criminal groups in contemporary forms of slavery within Nigeria

Jubilee Campaign is hosting a side event this Friday, October 29, 2021, 9:00 am to 11:00 am EST on “Stemming the role of criminal groups in contemporary forms of slavery within Nigeria.” This event is in light of the soon to be released report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, Tom Obokata. His report will be presented on the 27th and this event will further explore this issue with a particular emphasis on Nigeria and the enslavement of women and children.

To register for this event, please click this link.

Co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of the Sovereign Order of Malta to the United Nations Office at Geneva

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief, please visit unforb.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, please visit facebook.com/NGOCoRIP. For more information on the NGO Committee on Social Development, please visit ngosocdev.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-NY, please visit ngocsw.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-Vienna, please visit ngocswvienna.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-Geneva, please visit ngocsw-geneva.ch. For more information on the NGO Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons, please visit ngocstip.org.

20th anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action

In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA), the General Assembly is holding a high-level meeting, at the level of Heads of States and Governments, on the theme “Reparations, racial justice and equality for people of African descent.”

Consultations

In line with operative paragraph 29 of A/RES/75/237, the President of the General Assembly decided to appoint H.E. Mr. Francisco António Duarte Lopes, Permanent Representative of Portugal and H.E. Ms. Mathu Theda Joyini, Permanent Representative of South Africa to conduct intergovernmental consultations on the political declaration, and carry out consultations on the modalities of the high-level meeting.

Aim

General Assembly in its resolution 75/237 has decided, that the meeting will adopt a short and concise political declaration aimed at mobilizing political will for the full and effective implementation of the DDPA and its follow-up processes.

Invitation to Organize and Support

The General Assembly also invites Member States, United Nations entities, international and regional organizations, civil society, including non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders to organize and support various high-visibility initiatives, aimed at effectively increasing awareness at all levels, to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the DDPA.

Watch the event live on Sept. 22 here: un.org/en/durban-20-anniversary

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Social Development, please visit ngosocdev.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bobbinassar@gmail.com or bknotts@uua.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, please visit facebook.com/NGOCoRIP.

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

Trafficking in persons is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights. Every year, thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers, in their own countries and abroad. Almost every country in the world is affected by trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims. UNODC, as guardian of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and the Protocols thereto, assists States in their efforts to implement the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons (Trafficking in Persons Protocol).

The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons defines Trafficking in Persons as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.

The World Day against Trafficking in Persons was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution A/RES/68/192.

Did you know:

  • In 2018 about 50,000 human trafficking victims were detected and reported by 148 countries.
  • 50 per cent of detected victims were trafficked for sexual exploitation, 38 per cent were exploited for forced labour.
  • Female victims continue to be the primary targets. Women make up 46% and girls 19% of all victims of trafficking.
  • Globally, one in every three victims detected is a child.
  • The share of children among detected trafficking victims has tripled, while the share of boys has increased five times over the past 15 years.

To learn more about the Blue Heart campaign and how the UN commemorates this observance, visit un.org/en/observances/end-human-trafficking-day.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bobbinassar@gmail.com or bknotts@uua.org. For more information on the Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention & Criminal Justice, please visit crimealliance.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Social Development, please visit ngosocdev.org.

Memory at risk: the importance of genocide archives for justice, remembrance, research and education

Beyond the long shadow: engaging with difficult histories is a live discussion series organized by the United Nations Department of Global Communications. The series is organized by the Outreach Programme on the transatlantic slave trade and slaverythe Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, and the Outreach Programme on the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda and the United Nations. The aim of the collaborative series is to develop a deeper understanding of the legacies of these painful histories – and through examining the past, consider how best to build a world that is just, where all can live in dignity and peace.

Join us for the 5th installment of this Live Discussion Series:

Memory at risk: the importance of genocide archives for justice, remembrance, research and education

Archives play a crucial role in genocide remembrance and education and have been essential for legal procedures and conflict transformation processes in the aftermath of genocide. Establishing comprehensive archives in post-genocide societies can be a challenge, as well as ensuring the continuous preservation of artifacts and documents, and their accessibility to the public.

In a context of increasing disinformation, archives as places of authentic historical information, are an important counterbalance to narratives that seek to distort or deny genocidal pasts and form an important basis for informed research and education.

Register here: https://unesco-org.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_R2NKoD1CR2aIVHXygJKYVA

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Education, Learning, and Literacy, please visit facebook.com/NGOCELLatUN. For more information on the NGO Committee on Social Development, please visit ngosocdev.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com.

General Assembly meeting to commemorate the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

The Commemorative meeting of the General Assembly, mandated by Resolution 62/122 is chaired by the President of the General Assembly. The Commemorative meeting will be held in person in the United Nations General Assembly Hall, United Nations Headquarters, New York. Dr. Lisa M. Coleman, senior vice president for global inclusion and strategic innovation at New York University (NYU) will deliver the keynote address.
The commemorative meeting will be live-streamed on UN Web TV at: http://webtv.un.org

View the full calendar of events for the 2021 Commemoration of the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade here.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Social Development, please visit ngosocdev.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, please visit facebook.com/NGOCoRIP

Online discussion of Enslaved: Episode 1 – Cultures Left Behind

Over the next six months, the Outreach Programme is screening the six-part series Enslaved presented by Mr. Samuel L. Jackson, Dr. Afua Hirsch and Mr. Simcha Jacobovici. On the 24 March, the Outreach Programme will hold an online panel discussion that will examine the series, and the first episode, “Cultures left behind.”

Please register to attend the discussion and to receive information of how to view Episode 1 before the discussion. The specific time on March 24 has not yet been announced – registrants will receive info when it becomes available.

The event is organized by the United Nations Department of Global Communications.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Education, Learning, and Literacy, please visit facebook.com/NGOCELLatUN. For more information on the NGO Committee on Social Development, please visit ngosocdev.org.

Return to the Root: Exploring Racism Through Dance

“Return to the Root: Exploring Racism Through Dance” is an online discussion with Mr. Rafael Palacios, the Artistic Director of Afro-Colombian dance company, Sankofa Danzafro, and Dr.Terry-Ann Jones, Lehigh University Director of Africana Studies.

The conversation will be moderated by Mr. Mark Wilson, the Executive Director of Zoellner Arts Center at Lehigh University. Mr. Maher Nasser, Director of the Outreach Division, Department of Global Communications, will deliver a brief statement. The discussion explores themes of systemic racism, the legacy of slavery throughout African diaspora populations, and how we can participate in this discussion globally through multiple art forms. The discussion will have Spanish interpretation.

Please register here to attend the discussion. Register here to attend the free dance performance by Sankofa Danzafro: The City of Others.

This event is organized by the Outreach Programme on slavery and the transatlantic slave trade, also managed by the Education Outreach Section in the United Nations Department of Global Communications. This year’s theme Ending slavery’s legacy of racism: a global imperative for justice reflects the global movement to end injustices whose roots lie in the slave trade. The theme highlights the importance of educating about the history of the transatlantic slave trade and slavery, to bring about an acknowledgment of slavery’s impact on the modern world, and action to address its long-lasting effects. The theme guides the Outreach Programme’s development of educational outreach and remembrance to mobilize action against prejudice, racism and injustice.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Social Development, please visit ngosocdev.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Education, Learning, and Literacy, please visit facebook.com/NGOCELLatUN.

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