racism

Geneva Peace Talks: End Racism. Build Peace.

Dear NGO Representatives,

The United Nations Office at Geneva, Interpeace, and the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform are pleased to invite you and your staff to attend the 10th anniversary edition of the Geneva PeaceTalks. Marking the International Day of Peace, the Geneva PeaceTalks will take place on Wednesday, 21 September 2022, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. in Room XVIII at the Palais des Nations and online. The event will be followed by a reception at the Bar Serpent.

The 2022 edition revisits the original theme of the first Geneva PeaceTalks in 2013 to ask again: “What does peace mean to you?” The meaning of the word “peace” can indeed vary according to the context, and its significance is different according to people and their experiences. This event will be an opportunity to explore this question. In addition, for International Day of Peace 2022, the theme is “End Racism. Build Peace.”

The event will feature speakers from a wide range of backgrounds, from the media to peacebuilding, the creative sector and the police service. We will hear from Commissioner Ann-Marie Orler from the UN’s Standing Police Capacity; Ibaa Abusin, a Horn of Africa Social Media Expert at the Centre of Humanitarian Dialogue; Amad Mian, the co-founder of Pakistani creative platform Dastaangoi; Wasim Almasri and Eran Nissan, a peacebuilding duo from Palestine and Israel; Maged Al-Kholidy, a Yemeni activist and founder of a peacebuilding NGO; Amadou Dabitao, founder of the media platform Banlieusard Nouveau; and Ukrainian opera singer, Daria Mykolenko.

Due to COVID-19, the wearing of masks is mandatory in conference rooms and strongly recommended in all public areas at the Palais des Nations. Early registration for in-person participation is recommended as it will be closed once the maximum capacity is reached. To follow the event online or to register, please use the following link: www.peacetalks.net/pt/geneva-2022.

This year’s Geneva PeaceTalks are co-organized, once again, by the United Nations Office at Geneva, Interpeace and the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform. This year’s edition is made possible in partnership with the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva, and with the generous support of B8 of Hope, the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, Mirabaud, Salesforce and Second Peninsula.

With best regards,

NGO Liaison Unit

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Cher(e)s représentant(e)s d’ONG,

L’Office des Nations Unies à Genève, Interpeace et la Plateforme de Genève pour la consolidation de la paix ont le plaisir de vous inviter, ainsi que votre personnel, à participer à l’édition du 10e anniversaire des Pourparlers de Genève pour la paix. Marquant la Journée internationale de la paix, les Pourparlers de Genève pour la paix auront lieu le mercredi 21 septembre 2022, de 16h00 à 17h15, dans la salle XVIII du Palais des Nations et en ligne. L’événement sera suivi d’une réception au Bar Serpent.

L’édition 2022 revisite le thème original des premiers Pourparlers de Genève pour la paix en 2013 pour demander à nouveau : “Que signifie la paix pour vous ?”. Le sens du mot “paix” peut en effet varier en fonction du contexte, et sa signification est différente selon les personnes et leurs expériences. Cet événement sera l’occasion d’explorer cette question. En outre, pour la Journée internationale de la paix 2022, le thème est “Mettre fin au racisme. Construire la paix“.

L’événement accueillera des intervenants issus d’horizons très divers, des médias à la consolidation de la paix, en passant par le secteur créatif et le service de police. Nous entendrons Ann-Marie Orler, commissaire de la Force de police permanente des Nations Unies; Ibaa Abusin, experte en réseaux sociaux de la Corne de l’Afrique au Centre pour le dialogue humanitaire; Amad Mian, cofondateur de la plateforme créative pakistanaise Dastaangoi ; Wasim Almasri et Eran Nissan, un duo de construction de la paix venus de Palestine et d’Israël ; Maged Al-Kholidy, un activiste yéménite et fondateur d’une ONG de construction de la paix ; Amadou Dabitao, fondateur de la plateforme médiatique Banlieusard Nouveau ; et la chanteuse d’opéra ukrainienne, Daria Mykolenko.

En raison du COVID-19, le port du masque est obligatoire dans les salles de conférence et fortement recommandé dans tous les espaces publics du Palais des Nations. Il est recommandé de s’inscrire rapidement pour participer en personne, car les inscriptions seront closes lorsque la capacité maximale sera atteinte. Pour suivre l’événement en ligne ou pour vous inscrire, veuillez utiliser le lien suivant : www.peacetalks.net/pt/geneva-2022.

Cette année encore, les Pourparlers de Genève pour la paix sont co-organisés par l’Office des Nations Unies à Genève, Interpeace et la Plateforme de Genève pour la consolidation de la paix. L’édition de cette année est rendue possible en partenariat avec la Mission permanente de la Suisse auprès de l’Office des Nations Unies et des autres organisations internationales à Genève, et grâce au généreux soutien de B8 of Hope, du Centre pour le dialogue humanitaire, de Mirabaud, de Salesforce et de Second Peninsula.

Bien cordialement, 

Le bureau de Liaison avec les ONG

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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 Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bobbinassar@yahoo.com or bknotts@uua.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Social Development, please visit  ngosocdev.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Intergenerational Solidarity, please email the vice chair at susanneseperson@gmail.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Language and Languages, please email the co-chairs at fmhult@umbc.edu or tonkin@hartford.edu.

High-level meeting to mark the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious & Linguistic Minorities

High-level meeting to mark the commemoration of the thirtieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities

The President of the General Assembly will convene a High-level meeting to mark the commemoration of the thirtieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities on Wednesday, 21 September, at the UN Headquarters in New York, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 76/168.

The high-level meeting offers an important opportunity to take stock and evaluate the implementation of the Declaration, identify constraints and achievements, showcase examples of good practices and set priorities for the future, consistent with minorities’ effective participation and based on their own realities and needs. As the world moves toward a post-COVID-19 future and a new social contract, diversity must be inclusive and just in order to build a resilient global community of individuals equal in rights and opportunities regardless of nationality, ethnicity, religion, language and other features. The President’s summary of the discussions at the High-level meeting will further assist the international community to chart the way forward and recommit its engagement to actively and fully implement protection of the rights of minorities as expressed in the Declaration 30 years ago.

Format

The high-level meeting will take place in-person on Wednesday, 21 September 2022, in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, at United Nations Headquarters in New York. The high-level meeting will consist of an opening meeting, a general debate, and a closing meeting. A detailed programme will be circulated in due course

Participation

In order to promote a constructive and inclusive dialogue, participation in the high-level meeting will be open for Member States, observers, the United Nations system, as well as representatives of non- governmental organizations in consultative status with ECOSOC that are actively engaged in minorities issues.

Registration will be open at: indico.un.org/event/1002409 from Monday, 1 August until 5:00 pm EST on Friday, 12 August 2022.

The proceedings of the high-level meeting will be webcast live on UN Web TV in all six official languages of the United Nations.

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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 NGO Committee on Language and Languages, please email the co-chairs at tonkin@hartford.edu or fmhult@umbc.edu. 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 Migration, please visit ngo-migration.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Social Development, please visit ngosocdev.org

CRNGO International Day of Peace Commemoration

Greetings!

International Day of Peace is coming soon! CRNGO is planning a program on Friday, September 16th 11:30am – 12:45pm in the Tillman Chapel in the Church Center for the UN (corner of 44th St & 1st Ave).
If you would like to offer a prayer/reflection (3 minutes maximum) from your respected tradition on the theme of “End racism, Build peace, please RSVP via email to religiousngo@gmail.com at your earliest convenience. 
Register by Sep. 13, 2022 at 12 pm
Registration Link: forms.gle/j2f2AqmH3wSJCnw89

Zoom Link: us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUkf-2qpzsvGtOJvsI2d8tpNpHoP_T2Icto

Zoom ID: 819 8429 0507
Passcode: 2022

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CoNGO Notes: The Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations 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 Spirituality, Values, and Global Concerns/NY, please visit csvgc-ny.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Intergenerational Solidarity, please email the vice chair at susanneseperson@gmail.com.

Racial discrimination and the right to health, Day of General Discussion 2022

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is starting the elaboration of its General Recommendation n°37 on racial discrimination and the right to health under Article 5 (e)(iv) of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

To start this process, the Committee will convene a day of general discussion at its 107th session, on 23 August 2022 and is inviting State parties, national human rights institutions, civil society and grassroots organisations, academia, other relevant stakeholders (i.e., health-related entities or laboratories) and international organisations to provide relevant information to participate in this consultation process by providing information on any of the issues raised in this questionnaire [العربية | English | Français | Español] or by making submissions on any other aspects of article 5 (e)(iv) that they deem relevant.

Written submissions must be submitted to ohchr-cerd-gr37@un.org, before 1 July 2022 in one of the official working languages of the Committee: English, French or Spanish and should be limited to a maximum of 10 pages. Additional supporting materials, such as reports, academic studies, and other background materials may be annexed to the submission.

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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 Mental Health, please visit ngomentalhealth.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bobbinassar@yahoo.com or bknotts@uua.org.

2022 International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples: The Role of Indigenous Women in the Preservation and Transmission of Traditional Knowledge

The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is celebrated globally on 9 August. It marks the date of the inaugural session of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations in 1982. The Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) is organizing a virtual commemoration of the International Day from 9 am to 11am (EST) on Tuesday, 9 August 2022, focusing on this year’s theme: “The Role of Indigenous Women in the Preservation and Transmission of Traditional Knowledge. ” Indigenous Peoples, Member States, UN entities, civil society, and the public are all invited.

Background:

Indigenous women are the backbone of indigenous peoples’ communities and play a crucial role in the preservation and transmission of traditional ancestral knowledge. They have an integral collective and community role as carers of natural resources and keepers of scientific knowledge. Many indigenous women are also taking the lead in the defence of lands and territories and advocating for indigenous peoples’ collective rights worldwide.

The significance of indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge is widely acknowledged: “Long before the development of modern science, which is quite young, indigenous peoples have developed their ways of knowing how to survive and also of ideas about meanings, purposes and values.” As noted by the Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples, the term “scientific knowledge” is also used to underscore that traditional knowledge is contemporary and dynamic, and of equal value to other kinds of knowledge.

International consultations jointly facilitated by UNESCO and the Internal Council of Science (ICSU) states that “Traditional knowledge is a cumulative body of knowledge, know-how, practices and representations maintained and developed by peoples with extended histories of interaction with the natural environment. These sophisticated sets of understandings, interpretations and meanings are part and parcel of a cultural complex that encompasses language, naming and classification systems, resource use practices, ritual, spirituality and worldviews.”

However, despite the crucial role that indigenous women play in their communities as breadwinners, caretakers, knowledge keepers, leaders and human rights defenders, they often suffer from intersecting levels of discrimination on the basis of gender, class, ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Their right to self-determination, self-governance and control of resources and ancestral lands have been violated over centuries.

Small but significant progress has been made by indigenous women in decision-making processes in some communities. They are leaders at local and national levels, and stand at the frontlines of defending their lands, their cultures, and their communities. The reality, however, remains that indigenous women are widely under-represented, disproportionately negatively affected by decisions made on their behalf, and are too frequently the victims of multiple expressions of discrimination and violence.

The Committee of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) highlighted some of the major issues encountered by indigenous women, particularly noting the high levels of poverty; low levels of education and illiteracy; limitations in access to health, basic sanitation, credit and employment; limited participation in political life; and the prevalence of domestic and sexual violence.

Format:

The virtual commemoration will include an interactive dialogue segment with invited speakers, moderated by Ms. Rosemary Lane, Acting Chief of the Indigenous Peoples Development Branch – Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Speakers will share their expertise and experience from their indigenous communities in preserving, reviving, retaining, and transmitting the traditional ancestral knowledge in various fields of communal activities, including but not limited to effective and sustainable climate solutions, use of natural resources, protection of biodiversity, ensuring food security, promoting native languages and culture, and managing indigenous science and medicine. Questions to be discussed include:

  • What is the unique position of indigenous women in the preservation and transmission of traditional knowledge?
  • What are some of the brightest examples of indigenous women-led processes in solving contemporary global issues through the effective application of traditional scientific knowledge?
  • How are indigenous languages crucial to the development, preservation, and transmission of indigenous cultural and knowledge systems? How are women leading the way in maintaining indigenous languages?
  • What was the effect of applying indigenous scientific knowledge and medicine in alleviating the consequences of the COVID-19 epidemiologic crisis?

Panel Speakers:

Archana Soreng (Kharia) – Member of UN Secretary-General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change

Aili Keskitalo (Sámi)  – Former President of the Sámi Parliament of Norway

Zakiyatou Oualet Halatine (Touareg) – Former Minister of Tourism & Handicrafts, Mali

Hannah McGlade (Noongar) – Member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Commentary on Panel Discussion by His Excellency Ambassador Diego Pary Rodriguez(Quechua), Permanent Representative of Bolivia to the United Nations

 

More information about International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2022 available here: un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/international-day-of-the-worlds-indigenous-peoples-2022.html

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CoNGO Notes: 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 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 on Language and Languages, please email the co-chairs at fmhult@umbc.edu or tonkin@hartford.edu. 

The Fear of “The Great Replacement” and Impact on Society

Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, 2 PM to 3 PM ET

Join Live via Zoom or Facebook. Please click here to register.

Please join Religions for Peace for a discussion on how the fear of “The Great Replacement” has provided motivation for many heinous attacks on racial and religious minorities and what should be the role of religious communities in dispelling this myth perpetuated by white supremacist groups.

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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 Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations, please visit rngos.wordpress.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Spirituality, Values, and Global Concerns-NY, please visit csvgc-ny.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Education, Learning, and Literacy, please visit facebook.com/NGOCELLatUN

Nelson Mandela International Day

What is Mandela Day?

On 18 July every year, we invite you to mark Nelson Mandela International Day by making a difference in your communities. Everyone has the ability and the responsibility to change the world for the better! Mandela Day is an occasion for all to take action and inspire change.

Since November 2009, in recognition of the former South African President’s contribution to the culture of peace and freedom, the UN General Assembly has declared 18 July “Nelson Mandela International Day.” Resolution A/RES/64/13 recognizes Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity in: conflict resolution; race relations; promotion and protection of human rights; reconciliation; gender equality and the rights of children and other vulnerable groups; the fight against poverty; the promotion of social justice. The resolution acknowledges his contribution to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world.

To learn more about how and why the UN commemorates Nelson Mandela International Day, please visit un.org/en/events/mandeladay.

The Mandela Rules

In December 2015, the General Assembly decided to extend the scope of Nelson Mandela International Day to also be utilized in order to promote humane conditions of imprisonment, raise awareness about prisoners being a continuous part of society, and to value the work of prison staff as a social service of particular importance.

General Assembly resolution A/RES/70/175 not only adopted the revised United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, but also approved that they should be known as the “Nelson Mandela Rules” in order to honour the legacy of the late President of South Africa, who spent 27 years in prison in the course of his struggle.

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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 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.

Two years after the death of George Floyd: Antiracism, #BLM and the United Nations

As people continue to challenge the systemic racism that has devalued the lives of Black and Brown people globally, many are asking the question: why do some of these tragic events spark a stronger call for change than others?

Floyds murder also revived the concept of antiracism. The webinar will explore, in practice, what it means to be antiracist. Participants will also be invited to reflect on the role played by Christian nationalism in reinforcing white supremacy and racial subjugation, thereby fueling racism, xenophobia and racial discrimination.

As a follow up of its 1 June 2021 webinar marking the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, the World Council of Churches Commission of the Churches on International Affairs will host this webinar on the sides of the 30th session of the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, which will be taking place in New York city, USA, from 23 to 27 May 2022.

Speakers:

Moderator: Rev. Chebon Kernell, ordained elder in the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference

  • Gaynel D. Curry, member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on People of African Descent
  • Rt. Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  • Rev. Dr. Leah Gunning Francis, vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of the Faculty at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis
  • Prof. Gay McDougall, member of the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

Register here to join this webinar live on Wednesday, 25 May, 3:30 pm CEST / 9:30am EST.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations, please visit rngos.wordpress.com. 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@yahoo.com or bknotts@uua.org. 

International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust

Dear Colleague,

I am pleased to invite you to attend to the observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust on Thursday, 27 January 2022 at 12 noon in Room XX the Palais des Nations, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 60/7 of 2005. English and French interpretation will be provided. This year, due to COVID-19, the ceremony will be exceptionally organized in a hybrid format, with a limited presence in the room.

Registration is now open for this commemoration under this link https://indico.un.org/event/37258/.

Once the seating capacity is reached, the registration for in-person participation will be closed and confirmation emails will be sent. Participation in person will be possible upon presentation of the confirmation e-mail only. The event will be webcast live on the UN Web TV platform http://webtv.un.org/ as well as on Facebook (@UNGeneva) to allow interested participants to attend the event virtually. The provisional programme of the commemoration is attached. I look forward to your participation in this ceremony.

Yours sincerely,

Tatiana Valovaya

NGO Liaison Unit, Political Affairs and Partnerships Section
Office of the Director-General, United Nations Office at Geneva
Palais des Nations

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

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