democracy

World Press Freedom Day: Journalism Under Digital Siege

New York Observance of the 2022 World Press Freedom Day: Journalism Under Digital Siege

In 1993, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 3 May as World Press Freedom Day following a recommendation adopted at the twenty-sixth session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 1991. It serves as an occasion to inform citizens of the violations of press freedom and remind governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom. It is a day to reflect on issues of press freedom and professional ethics as well as to support media professionals, who are the targets of the restraint, or abolition, of press freedom. Equally important, World Press Freedom Day recognizes and remembers journalists who lost their lives in the pursuit of a story.

In collaboration with UNESCO, the United Nations Department of Global Communications will host a virtual event for the New York observance of World Press Freedom Day 2022 on 4 May, 10:30 am – 12 pm EDT. This year’s World Press Freedom Day theme, “Journalism Under Digital Siege,” examines the challenges to media viability in different regions and media sectors, identifying viable solutions without compromising the integrity and editorial independence and exploring the importance of professional practices. In addition, the session will mark the 10th anniversary of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity and discuss the new challenges that the digital world brings to the safety of journalists.

Event site: un.org/en/civil-society/world-press-freedom-day-observance-2022

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bobbinassar@yahoo.com or bknotts@uua.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Social Development, please visit ngosocdev.org.

Democracy for Human Rights Through CEDAW

Date: Thursday, 9 December 2021Time: 11:00am EST Find your timezone here.On Thursday, 9 December, NGO CSW/NY will be hosting an official side event of The Summit for Democracy convened by the U.S. Department of State, Democracy for Human Rights Through CEDAW. The interactive panel will bring together human rights experts, political leaders, and grass-roots women’s groups to showcase a Cities for CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women) campaign.

Register here!

Speakers:
  • Soon-Young Yoon, UN Representative for the International Alliance of Women
  • Houry Geudelekian, Chair, NGO CSW/NY
  • Dubravka Simonovic, Former Member of the CEDAW Committee & Former Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women
  • Rangita de Silva de Alwas, Assistant Dean of International Affairs, University of Pennsylvania Law School
  • Alda Facio, Former Member of the UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women and Girls
  • Krishanti Dharmaraj, Executive Director, Center for Women’s Global Leadership, Rutgers University
  • Moderated by Terry Dale Ince, CEDAW Committee of Trinidad/Tobago

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CoNGO Notes: The NGO Committee on the Status of Women-NY is a Substantive Committee of the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations. Likewise, 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 on the Status of Women-Vienna, please visit ngocswvienna.org

Expert Mechanism on the Right to Development Online Dialogue with Civil Society

The purpose of this dialogue is to provide a platform for the Expert Mechanism to engage with Civil Society Organizations and Movements (CSOs) on promoting and operationalizing the right to development.

The Right to Development offers a useful framework for advocacy on a wide range of economic, social, cultural and environmental rights, particularly related with inequalities and sovereignty and the duty to cooperate. However, many right-holders and civil society organizations and movements do not use the Right to Development in their advocacy work as widely and effectively as they can. In some cases, civil society groups are unaware of the Right to Development and the possibilities it holds as a tool for legal and social advocacy. Although the Declaration on the Right to Development itself does not create a cause of legal action, many of the elements of the right to development are reaffirmed in binding international law. The right to development is also affirmed in some legally-binding regional human rights instruments.

This EMRTD Dialogue offers a forum to promote the Right to Development among civil society groups, especially grassroots movements and organizations, learn from them, and inform them on the possibilities of the right to development as an instrument of human rights advocacy and development practice. A key focus of the dialogue will be identifying and addressing the conceptual and practical difficulties of using the right to development in human rights advocacy. A related goal of the dialogue is to encourage CSOs’ engagement in the drafting process of a global legally binding instrument on the right to development.

Programme:

  • Session 1 on The Right to Development Agenda – 16:00-17:00 CET and;
  • Session 2 on Civil Society Organizations and Movements and their perspectives about Development and the Right to Development –  17h10-19:30 (with a 10-min break included)

Preparatory Documents:

· Declaration on the Right to Development [English/French/Spanish]

· Draft Covenant on the Right to Development [English/French/Spanish]

· EMRTD Position Document on Legally Binding Instrument (LBI)

· EMRTD Thematic Studies

· Right to Development promotional publications of the OHCHR

The dialogue has the following specific aims:

  • To assess civil society engagement with the right to development in their agendas and activities
  • To address challenges and barriers that civil society groups face in their engagement with the right to development
  • To explore strategies for enhancing civil society engagement with the right to development
  • To share good practices, initiatives, and strategies on using the right to development framework for human rights advocacy and development work
  • To encourage CSOs’ engagement in the drafting process of a global legally binding instrument on the right to development

French and Spanish translations of the concept note will available shortly on the website. Do not hesitate to contact the Secretariat of the Expert Mechanism on the Right to Development at ohchr-emrtd@un.org in case of questions.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY, please visit ngocsd-ny.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-Vienna, please visit congocsd.wordpress.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Social Development, please visit ngosocdev.org.

Panel Discussion on Deepening Inequalities Exacerbated by the COVID-19 Pandemic and their Implications for the Realization of Human Rights

Join us at HRC48 for this half-day panel discussion on 28 September from 15:00 to 17:00 CET.

Background documents, the concept note and full agenda are available here: ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/Panel_Discussion_Inequalities_COVID19.aspx

Date and venue:

Tuesday, 28 September 2021, 3 to 5 p.m. Room XX, Palais des Nations, Geneva and online platform (Zoom)

To be webcast live and archived at http://webtv.un.org

Objectives:

As States work to build back better after the COVID-19 pandemic, this panel discussion will address inequalities exacerbated by the pandemic and their implications for the realization of human rights. This discussion aims to identify ways to alleviate inequality within and among States by sharing best practices, solutions to challenges and lessons learned, including in the context of integrated approaches to the promotion and protection of human rights and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – paying particular attention to Goal 10 on reducing inequality. The meeting will also address the role of greater international cooperation in further reducing inequalities within and among States.

The objectives are:

  • To highlight and address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the goal to reduce inequality, with a particular emphasis on the requirement of the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health to eliminate vaccine inequality. Recognition that no one is safe until everyone is safe will also be looked at from a human rights perspective as will the necessity of vaccine equality in promoting and protecting all human rights;
  • To identify the role of the promotion and protection of human rights and technical cooperation in setting priorities and addressing gaps in the global vaccine roll out. The focus will be on the importance of the human rights approach in addition to the moral and ethical case;
  • To understand how to better use the United Nations human rights mechanisms to advance vaccine equality as a necessary step in the promotion and protection of all human rights and how to provide technical cooperation in this regard;
  • To address how the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the digital divide – using education to illustrate how the divide detrimentally affects the realisation of human rights – and to engage in a constructive dialogue among States and other stakeholders about sharing good practices and experience with regard to overcoming the digital divide and ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education for all;
  • To identify concrete steps for building back better, including by reversing the impact of austerity and economic inequalities and realising a human rights-based economy.

Organized by:

Development Economic Social issues Branch
Thematic Engagement, Special Procedures and Right to Development Division
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

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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 NGO Committee on Financing for Development, please visit ngosonffd.org. For more information on the NGO Committee for Rare Diseases, please visit ngocommitteerarediseases.org.

International Day for Universal Access to Information

On 17 November 2015, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared 28 September as International Day for Universal Access to Information. Considering that several civil society organizations and government bodies in the world have adopted and currently celebrate this observance, the UN General Assembly also adopted 28 September 2019 as the International Day for Universal Access to Information.

UNESCO and its intergovernmental programs – the International Programme for Development of Communication and the Information for All Programme – provide a platform and frame for all the stakeholders to participate in international discussions on policy and guidelines in the area of access to information. Both programs also enable positive environment for ATI to flourish through the development of projects aimed to strengthen open science, multilingualism, ICTs for disabled and marginalized, and media and information literacy.

Access to information

Informed citizens can make informed decisions, for instance, when going to the polls. Only when citizens know how they are governed, can they hold their governments accountable for their decisions and actions. Information is power. Therefore, universal access to information is a cornerstone of healthy and inclusive knowledge societies.

Universal access to information means that everyone has the right to seek, receive and impart information. This right is an integral part of the right to freedom of expression. The media plays a crucial role in informing the public about issues of interest, but it relies on the ability to seek and receive information, too. Hence, the right to universal access to information is also bound up with the right to freedom of the press.

To learn more about why and how the UN commemorates this day, please visit un.org/en/observances/information-access-day.

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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 Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bobbinassar@gmail.com or bknotts@uua.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com.

From Words to Action: The UN Secretary General’s “Our Common Agenda” Report

The UN Secretary-General’s much anticipated “Our Common Agenda” report will be presented to the General Assembly on Friday, September 10 2021 at 10am EDT.

Watch live on UN webTV at 10:00 am EDT here: media.un.org/en/webtv

The report follows the UN75 Declaration, adopted September 21 2020, when member states commemorating the 75th anniversary of the United Nations promised to fulfill 12 key commitments across the global agenda and mandated the Secretary-General “to report back with recommendations to advance our common agenda and to respond to current and future challenges.”

Reflecting the importance of the Our Common Agenda report, the Secretary-General’s office initiated preparations earlier this year that included consultations with Member States, youth representatives, UN officials, academic experts and civil society. The report on the “We the Peoples” online consultations with civil society, which generated 523 proposals for a stronger UN from 1,759 participants from 147 countries, will also be released September 10.

In a letter sent to UN missions in August, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, Co-Chair of the Coalition for the UN We Need (C4UN) and Danilo Türk, President of the Club de Madrid called on world leaders at the upcoming General Assembly High-level segment to reinforce the necessity of collective action to strengthen multilateralism.

According to Espinosa, “We recognize that responding to the challenges and threats posed by the COVID-19 pandemic is the overriding priority for governments around the world. But the pandemic also reinforces the social solidarity and awareness of humanity’s shared need to strengthen global cooperation.”

Upcoming C4UN communications will provide additional information and analysis on the Common Agenda report as well as events in September and October where the reports recommendations will be discussed in greater detail. Read the Regional Consultations report here.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY, please visit ngocsd-ny.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-Vienna, please visit ngocsdvienna.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bknotts@uua.org or bobbinassar@gmail.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com.

Protect Education for Sustainable Peace

Dear friends,

We cordially invite you to attend the High-level virtual event to mark the International Day to Protect Education from Attack under the theme “Protect Education for Sustainable Development” to be held on September 9, 2021 at from 8:30am to 10:30am (ET).

Access the full program, speaker biographies, and live stream here: sep9.educationaboveall.org/events/detail/1020408182850968762/talk/1953456246373491363

The event will focus on the critical issue of monitoring, reporting and data, and discuss how global leaders, local communities and groups, governmental bodies, academia, and media can engage fully and systematically in shaping advocacy, prevention and protection of education from attack. Discussions will also contribute to the global debate around the important need to build back education as part of countries’ COVID-19 recovery efforts, making education systems more responsive and resilient.

With kind regards,

UNESCO Liaison Office in New York

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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 Sustainable Development-NY, please visit ngocsd-ny.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-Vienna, please visit ngocsdvienna.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com.

Past, Present and Future: Conflict and Cooperation in U.S. – China Relations

The U.S. and China

Past, Present and Future: Conflict and Cooperation in U.S.-China Relations

The prophetic historian Howard Zinn taught that if we don’t know our history, we can’t be free.  Without that knowledge, he warned, whenever a president comes on TV and says that we are in danger from here or there, we lack the framework needed to critically judge its truth.  Today the near unanimous Washington, media, and even scholarly and expert consensus is that China poses a dire threat to democracy and freedom around the world, and that our freedom requires defend them by challenging and containing China militarily, economically, technologically, diplomatically, and politically.  Provocative military operations near Taiwan or in the South China Sea carry the danger of an accident or miscalculation escalating to war, even a nuclear war.  Demonization of China also drives anti-Asian racism and violence across the United States, which must immediately be ended.

Understanding Chinese history and the history of U.S.-China relations provides us what we need to advocate for mutually beneficial policies and diplomacy, bringing the world back from the brink and opening the way for collaborations to address the existential threat of nuclear weapons, the climate emergency, and pandemics. Professors Mark Seldon and Zhiqun Zhu are uniquely qualified to share the essential histories of China and of U.S.–Chinese cooperation and competition.

Register here: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZModOmorz4rHtwRKZ9w0MwVaDenIP6Hy8GI

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Social Development, please visit ngosocdev.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Financing for Development, please visit ngosonffd.org

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