News letter- March 2015

Dear  Readers,                                                                                                                                                                                March named for the Roman God “Mars” is a month of many special days, Mar.8 -International women’s day,        Mar 21– International day of Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Mar 22- World day for Water, 25Interntl day of remembrance of victims of Slavery Mar 28 – Earth hour are a few to mention. The UN Commission on the Status of women CSW59 held from March 9-20, as mentioned earlier MMS organized programs- “Unearthing Development- impact of Mining on Indigenous women” and “ Women’s Spirituality : Pioneering and Transforming”. Several MMS and Associates were participants as well as speakers. Following are some of their comments:-

Visit to the UN … some highlights from Sr. Lucy Klein- Gebbinck                                                                                                    It was a great experience being at the UN for the CSW- Beijing + 20. Such a strong sense of global sisterhood and woman power. Such a reality check with the status of women so exceedingly vulnerable in so many places. I continue to be especially haunted by stories of the violence against women and rape as a weapon of war. I was fiercely proud of our Medical Mission Sisterhood listening to Pushpa Toppo speaking on the impact of extractive industries on indigenous peoples in North India, Christine Shenk speaking on the culture of women in the time of Jesus and MT Winter on transformative spirituality.   Their witness and that of so many other women of hope who presented during the week are testimony of persistent, creative, courageous commitment to building a community of Life that is indeed the reign of God among us. In the words of MT Winter, “Women are weaving a web of believing; their love is encompassing all.”

Sr. Miriam Paul Klaus writes..  On March 19, Sr. Miriam Paul was the second presenter at the UN’s CSW NGO forum sponsored by the world Organization of the Ovulation Method, Billings. The session was entitled “the right of all women to control their fertility. A longer version presented that afternoon can be seen at UN Live United Nations Web TV – Defending Human Dignity in Reproductive Health – CSW59 Side Event.htm Miriam Paul presented the Teen STAR program’s extent and effectiveness “Experiential learning of fertility empowers teens.” When girls learn to observe their cyclic fertility signs they understand and value their sexuality and fertility, develop self confidence and move away from peer pressure. While many agencies think they are helping women and girls fight sexual violence by contracepting them this is another form of violence against women as it makes the women available to be used. It makes her into a sexual object and exposes her unnecessarily to powerful drugs. As fertility is not a disease adding drugs which may cause depression and other physical problems is illogical.   Several participants asked how they could have the program in their countries, leading to new initiatives.

Update on Post 2015: The first negotiation session regarding the Sustainable Development Goals and Targets were held from March 23- 27th. There were suggestions to stick to the 17 goals and 169 targets as produced by the Open Working Group while few countries still feel the numbers are too many. Civil society groups are very active and had very lively interaction on Mar 25 morning session was for the Major groups to interact with the co-facilitators. Both the Member states as well as the civil society felt it was very productive and useful. The process will continue in the coming months until September when the final agreement will be accepted by the heads of states.

Important reminder: The Earth hour 2015 is on March 28 pleasejoin with millions of people from 173 countries. Turn off all lights from 8.30 to 9.30 PM as an act of protecting our planet- if not we, who else?                                            Celine Paramunda