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Sale and Sexual Exploitation of Children, UN Human Rigths Expert Visit to Armenia

 

The United Nations Special Rapporteur and human rights expert, Ms. Maud de Boer-Buquicchio will conduct an official visit to Armenia from 12 to 18 May 2015, at the invitation of the government. The purpose is to assess the situation of the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography in the country.
During her visit, Ms. de Boer-Buquicchio will meet local and national senior ranking officials, members of NGO’s and civil society who work on child protection matters. She will also visit shelters and child-care centres in Yerevan, Vanadzor and Gyumri.
“I look forward to assessing the progress made and challenges faced by Armenia against the sale and sexual exploitation of children in all its forms,” said the independent expert mandated by the United Nations Human Rights Council to promote comprehensive strategies to prevent and combat the sale and sexual exploitation of children, and to make recommendations for the rehabilitation and reintegration of child victims.
“I will reach out to child victims and children in vulnerable situations to take their opinions into account in my recommendations to the Government and other concerned parties,” said Ms. de Boer-Buquicchio.
Ms. De Boer-Buquicchio will present a comprehensive report on her visit to the United Nations Human Rights Council in March 2016.
For more information, please visit:
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Children/Pages/ChildrenIndex.aspx
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/ENACARegion/Pages/AMIndex.aspx
Check the Universal Human Rights Index: http://uhri.ohchr.org/en

BBC Journalist Michael Buchanan Reports on Human Trafficking in Slovakia

 

A report from the Centre for Social Justice in the UK, has called on the government to increase cross-border police operations in order to address the problem of increased human trafficking.
BBC Journalist Michael Buchanan meets with staff at the SKCH officesThe European Union’s open borders policy has provided increased opportunities for trafficking of people, which has become a very profitable business.
Michael Buchanan’s report gives an insight into the situation in eastern Slovakia, when he recently visited and met with the staff who work at Caritas Slovakia. This report is available at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-32407812

EU Pledges Swift Action on Humanitarian Crisis in the Mediterranean Sea

 

Pope Francis blessing‘’They are men and women like us , our brothers seeking a better life, starving, persecuted, wounded, exploited, victims of war. They were looking for a better life.’’ Pope Francis, 19-04-2015
Pope Francis expressed his heartfelt pain at the latest tragedy to befall migrants fleeing war and persecution. The boat carrying several hundred migrants capsised off the coast of Libya.  This is but one of worst disasters seen in the Mediterranean migrant crisis. By lunch time on the 20th of April, a second boat ran aground off the coast of the Greek island of Rhodes, with the subsequent deaths of numerous migrants.
Read more…
Since the start of 2014, nearly 200,000 people have been rescued at sea by Italy. All the EU countries are being called to respond more actively to help rescue and shelter migrants, desperate to escape war, persecution and poverty.
This emergency situation in the Mediterranean was placed at the top of the agenda of yesterday   morning’s previously scheduled meeting of European Foreign Ministers, in Luxembourg, with Ministers observing a minute’s silence in prayer for those affected by the tragic drownings over both the weekend and Monday.
The Italian and Maltese Foreign Ministers made impassioned pleas to member States for greater solidarity in the provision of humanitarian aid and not to simply leave it to one or two countries. They called for greater resourcing of the Triton Initiative – funds, boats, helicopters and personnel.
At the heart of the matter is the problem of illegal trafficking of people. The exploitation of people fleeing for their lives, become ‘prey’ to traffickers. All of which poses the challenge for Justice Departments to address adequately the criminal activities of traffickers.
The European Union is due to publish a new Migration Strategy paper in May 2015, to address would-be migrants at their country of origin.

Migrants on the ship
Migrants on the ship, photo by Associated Press

Arising from an urgently convened meeting of all European Justice and Home Affairs Ministers last evening, the European Union has devised a 10-point Plan which it is hoped will help to try to find ways to address this crisis
Some of the proposed plans to be considered at a special meeting of the European Council on the 23rd April, include:

  • Provision of additional funds for search & recovery;
  • Reinforcement of E U border control operations in the Mediterranean;
  • Systematic efforts to capture and destroy vessels used by smugglers;
  • Create a new programme of ‘’Rapid return’’ of migrants to their mother country;
  • Develop a pilot programme to share re-settlement of migrants amongst the all EU Member States;

‘’What happened off the coast of Italy, what happens every day at the southern border of Europe, is unacceptable for a union that was built on the principles of solidarity, respect for human rights and dignity for all…We need to fight the trafficking of human beings… ‘’
(EU Foreign Policy Chief, Federica Mogherini – 20th April, 2015).
RENATE offers prayers that the European partners collaborate to act swiftly to stop the trafficking of people across the Mediterranean and create long-lasting measures which will put an end to war and strife, which cause so many to flee in search of safety and a better life.
Compiled by Anne Kelleher
RENATE Communications Person

Help Free those Enslaved in the Building for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar

 

Although still seven years hence, work is well under way for the World Cup in 2022, which will be held in Qatar, the Middle East. Billion dollar building programmes have commenced in order to ensure enjoyment for those attending and participating in the competitions, as well as the success of the venture for the host country, Qatar.
Qatar’s ‘’Guest Worker’’ programme was portrayed as a beacon of possibility, offering work and success. However, in reality, we now find that thousands are in fact trapped in horrific working conditions, forced to work under the desert’s scorching sun with little or no respite; denied adequate food and drinking water; housed in squalid living conditions and prevented from returning to their home countries as their passports have been confiscated.
Sources:
The Guardian: Death toll among Qatar’s 2022 World Cup workers revealed
Human Rights WatchBuilding a Better World Cup
BloombergAt a Qatar Project Overseen by Americans, Workers Die Almost Daily
The Guardian: Qatar accused of dragging its feet over treatment of migrant workers
Reuters: Qatar risks losing World Cup without job reform
 
Avaaz.org is a global campaigning network which works to ensure the views and values of the world’s people, shape global decision making and is currently inviting people to sign their petition to the Emir of Qatar, the Secretary General of Qatar 2022 & the CEO of CH2M Hill (the public face of World Cup construction, managing a major part of Qatar 2022), to instate basic human rights and safety measures for its building programme and support workers.
By simply adding our names to the petition we can make a difference and help free these workers from a form of modern day slavery. In doing so, we not only honour RENATE’s commitment to campaign against slavery and exploitation at world sports events, we bear witness to Pope Francis’ message that ‘’…Every person, and all people, are equal and must be accorded the same freedom and the same dignity.’’ (Declaration on International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, 2nd December 2014).
 
Anne Kelleher
RENATE Communications Person

Behind Closed Doors: the dark side to Domestic Servitude

 

On Friday, 13th February, WalkFree.org posted the good news outcome of justice being served to Erwiana, a domestic worker in Hong Kong, who was mistreated and exploited by her employers.
While we celebrate the positive outcome for Erwiana, we remember the countless others who are at risk in similar situations of exploitation and ill treatment. Together we can make a difference as we shine a light into the darkness behind those closed doors.
Read more here: Help End Modern Slavery in Hong Kong

Light Up the World against Human Trafficking

 

Letter from Talitha Kum for the first International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking.

Rome, 23rd January 2015

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

This is a letter to follow-up on the introduction made earlier this month.  We are proceeding with the plans for celebrating an International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking, and would like to provide your network with resources developed by the Talitha Kum Team here in Rome.  You are free to use or modify these resources to suit your local needs.  The resources will be available on a special website after 2 February, 2015.
www.a-light-against-human-trafficking.info
The resources include a short prayer available in English, Swahili, Thai, Arabic, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, French, and soon Chinese and Bahasa Indonesia.  There is also a longer Prayer Service available in English, Italian, French, and Spanish.   If you are able to translate materials into other languages, we thank you and ask that you share these translations on the website.  Attached to this e-mail is the official Program which will be followed in Rome, in English.  Please note that a Press Conference will be held in Rome on 3 February; you may want to do something similar locally.
(…)
The Talitha Kum Team
Full text of the letter is available in the Member Only Area.
UISG A Light Against Trafficking_Program Outline

Silent Prayer Vigil to Raise Awareness about Human Trafficking

 

The Intercommunity Peace & Justice Center in the US acts for justice in the church and in the world. IPJC is sponsored by 18 religious communities and collaborates with Catholic, ecumenical, interfaith and other organizations in carrying out this mission. IPJC initiated Human Trafficking Vigils and invites people to join for a silent prayer on 1st Sunday of each month to raise awareness about human trafficking. Perhaps this will be an inspiration for you to take a similar action in the local community?
Click here to read more about IPJC initiative.

Presentation of Pope’s Message for the World Day of Peace in Poland

 

The Catholic News Agency (KAI) in Poland presented the Pope’s message for the World Day of Peace at the press conference on 10th December 2014. This media brief was organised in the venue of the Polish Episcopal Conference (KEP) and in paralel with a corresponding event at the Vatican.
Bishop Artur Miziński, General Secretary of KEP, spoke about the leading topic of the Pope’s message, which is slavery. Many people think that slavery is a thing of the past. In fact, this social plague remains all too real in today’s world. NO LONGER SLAVES, BUT BROTHERS AND SISTERS – says Pope Francis. And this is an inspiration for us all, for the coming year, 2015.
Professor Adam Glapiński, representative of the Monetary Policy Council (RPP), spoke about a paradigm shift in the economy which began in 2007, when the first symptoms of the world crisis appeared. It continues nowadays and urges us to look for the values in all that we do. Campaigning for profit and following the economy according to Adam Smith, is not a solution for today. It would be good to see the implementation of Catholic Social Teaching among businesses and entrepreneurs’, said Prof. Glapiński. And it is possible, there are good examples of it in Austria and Germany, he continued.
Mr. Piotr Mierecki, Director of the Unit against Trafficking in Human Beings at the Ministry of Interior, explained how the Polish state is coping with the problem of human trafficking. The scale of the phenomenon cannot be known precisely, due to its nature. Many cases remain hidden. However last year about 100 trials took place and as a result of this not less than 1000 persons were identified as victims of human trafficking in Poland.
Sr. Anna Bałchan, PoMOC Association and Member of RENATE, was one of the key speakers invited to this press conference. She gave testimony of her experience with the victims of human trafficking and domestic violence in the work which she has developed in Poland for 15 years. She emphasised the burnining problem of family crisis and broken relationships in the present day society, which makes people vulnerable and easy targets for the oppressors. Sr. Anna shared information on how her Association is going to respond to this. They are planning to build a development and care centre for children. This initiative willl involve adults from dysfunctional families and train them in parental skills. Many forget that a human being is created to be loved, not to be used, she said.
Links:
http://ekai.pl/wydarzenia/temat_dnia/x84579/grudnia-prezentacja-papieskiego-oredzia-na-swiatowy-dzien-pokoju/
http://www.news.va/en/news/slavery-to-be-theme-of-2015-world-day-of-peace
http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/peace/documents/papa-francesco_20141208_messaggio-xlviii-giornata-mondiale-pace-2015.html
Video in Polish: Godziwa zapłata a problem handlu ludźmi

Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery

 

For the first time in history, leaders of the world’s largest faiths have come together. Their goal is to end slavery.
 
Committed to the dignity and freedom that is the birthright of all humankind, Catholic, Anglican, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, and Orthodox leaders have signed a Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery on World Day for the Abolition of Slavery.
 
Will you join with them and sign a declaration to end slavery once and for all?
 
Click here to sign Declaration
 
Source: http://www.globalfreedomnetwork.org/