MMS & UN News Update – December 2019

Dear Readers,

The highlights of December news from the United Nations are as follows:

Dec 5: The United Nations Career Workshop provided prospective employees, students and interns with the necessary information on the different roles one could fulfill and the benefits of being a UN staff. The workshop consisted of an interactive panel discussion on matters of writing a CV, a cover letter, and the in-person interview process. Lea and Vaiju our interns attended it .  

ILO 190: A briefing on the ILO(International Labor Organization)  Convention 190 on violence and harassment in the workplace and Recommendation 206 shared with the NGO committees and encourage ratification . This binding treaty will include the first international standards on violence and harassment in the workplace if ratified. According to the government delegate of Romania Adrian Vierita, “no one should have to choose between their right to work and their right to live free from violence and harassment.”

Dec 10: Human Rights Day celebrated on the theme: Youths Standing Up for Human Rights. At this event, the youth challenged everyone to be willing to be uncomfortable, in order to open up dialogue on issues surrounding human rights violations. An activist with first-hand experience as a homeless student, Alexus Lawrence, spoke about the different faces of homelessness and how some people can hide it well. Topics surrounding indigenous people and sexual violence were also discussed in depth.                    

Cop 25: The 25th UN Climate Conference has ended in Madrid -Spain after two weeks of negotiations aimed at setting the Paris Agreement on a course for success.Despite much hope and pressure from climate activists the negotiators did not meet the world’s expectations. Developing countries blamed the US and other Northern countries for the weak outcome by not taking responsibility, specially the pushback on Finance. “The international community lost an important opportunity to show increased ambition on mitigation, adaptation and finance to tackle the climate crisis,”  UN Secretary General António Guterres. MMS were part of the co-sponsors for a side event with few other organizations. The good news in the COP 25 decision adopted, is that  Parties recognized “the role of multilateralism and the Convention, including its principles and processes, in addressing climate change and its impacts”; “the important advances made through the UNFCCC multilateral process over the past 25 years”; and “the role of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in providing scientific input to inform Parties”. How ever We do not give up on our beautiful planet. We do not give up on a future for every species. We will never give up on our campaign for climate justice!

Is there a connection between Military budgt and Violence against women? According to the NGO working group on women peace and security, in 2018, only 7.7 percent of peace agreements included gender-related provisions, showing a drastic decrease from 39 percent in 2015. In 2018, total world military expenditure reached $1.8 trillion. Political violence targeting women has reached record levels. 

INTERNSHIP UPDATE: Over the Fall 2019 semester, I collected many clips and pictures while interning with MMS at the UN. As an assignment and a creative outlet, I decided to put it all together into a reflection video. In it, I speak about the founding history of MMS, a striking memory at an NGO committee meeting, and how the internship affected my career outlook. After my School break in January, I will continue my internship in February for the Spring semester. Thank you so much for the opportunity, as I’ve enjoyed interning here and learned quite a lot. Happy Holidays! Love, Lea

Lea’s Reflection video: :

Vaiju: My name is Vaiju Raja and I was born to Indian parents in Malaysia and raised in the DC Area. My curiosity towards health, human rights, and ethical studies directed me towards receiving my B.S. in Public Health from George Mason University. My aim is to go to medical school and utilize my MD in health advocacy, as medicine interconnects empirical science and human service. Through my high school experience in Model UN, I was exposed to the UN structure and process in promoting global peace and enacting justice. I am glad to join Sister Celine and Lea as a new Youth Representative for the Medical Mission Sisters to continue my pursuit of a career in advocacy on human rights.  

Reminder for UN Conference Registration before January 15,2020

  1. Commission on Social Development CSOCD 58 – 10 to 19 February                                      
  2. Commission on the Status of Women CSW 64 –  9 to 20 March

Link to register :      

Call for Actions:

The UN at 75 : In2020 The UN is celebrating the 75th anniversary of its Foundation . October 2019, the UN announced the launch of the “biggest- ever global conversation” about the future of the planet. The UN wants to hear from you , please the take the survey :

•       JCoR workshops:  Attend workshop by Justice Coalition of Religious (JCOR) to be held in India, Uganda and Latin America : link

•       Awesome Oceans: A Video about marine ecosystems and the threats they are facing

2019 A year in review : biggest Climate crisis and response:

Signs of hope :

  • 20-year-old German boy planted 1 million trees starting in 2007 when he was 9 years old. His speech “Forests are not only the livelihood of billions, but for us children forests are our future.” The UN handed over to Felix the leadership of its Billion Tree Program, which was inspired by the Kenyan activist Wangari Maathai.
  • 30-year-old Priyesh KV, a fisherman from Kerala S.India has been going to sea to fish since he was 14 years old. But in the past few years, his fishing nets have caught more than just fish – plastic waste. He decided to start a personal mission to remove as much as plastic from the sea as he can. In just two months, Priyesh has managed to remove about 3.5 tonnes of plastic from the sea all by himself.
  • Kenya Installs First Solar-Powered Plant That Turns Salty Ocean Water into Fresh Drinking Water
  • Italy passes law to send unsold food to charities instead of dumpsters.
  • After months of renovation, Pope Francis is hailing the launch of a project that he has long dreamed of in Rome: a 24-hour church and shelter for the homeless.“Churches with closed doors should be called museums,” wrote Pope Francis in a letter detailing the church’s mission to Padre Ángel García, the founder of the Catholic NGO “Messengers of the Peace”. “I wish that the doors to the House of God are always open because it walks among the peoples, in the history of men and women.”
Wish you all happy holidays and a hope filled new year 2020 !  
From Lea, Celine and Vaiju