IIMA and the World Day of Human Rights

Geneva (Switzerland). The date was decided in 1950 in order to remember the proclamation on the part of the General Assembly of the United Nations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948. Resolution 423 (V) of the General Assembly of the United Nation of 1950 invited all the Nations and organizations interested, to celebrate the day of human rights in the manner they deemed most opportune. The International Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (IIMA) dedicates itself to promote and defend human rights, making it a reality for everyone.

IIMA, is the non-governmental organization of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians to promote the right to education and education to human rights. To this end in 2008, it obtained Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. The vision of IIMA is that education is a right for everyone and the instrument for implementing the other rights.

VIDES International, thanks to the youth protagonists in volunteer projects to promote human rights and solidarity, constitutes an important partner for IIMA. The Office of Human Rights at Geneva has the task of representing IIMA and VIDES at the United Nations, giving visibility to the experiences and good practices accomplished by the FMA and the youth volunteers in the whole world.

The activities of the Human Rights Office (IIMA) and of VIDES can be attributed to three pillars of action: advocacy, formation and building capacity, and communication. Through these three pillars of action, the Office works in synergy with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) and with other Institutions.

Through the activity of Advocacy the office furnishes experts to the United Nations and the Representatives of the Member Nations, with pertinent and reliable information on how human rights are implemented at the local level, including the denunciations of violations. The Office of Human Rights carries out this task in close collaboration with the local actors. The objective is that of sharing the good practices implemented in the world where the FMA work aimed at supporting the governments in accomplishing their international obligations in the matter of human rights.

The tools used to carry out the activity of advocacy are multiple. In particular, IIMA and VIDES participate in the sessions of the Human Rights Council, presenting Oral Statements and drawing up written reports for the Universal Periodic Revision (UPR) of various countries where the Salesian Sisters work. This information is presented to the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations, who makes them accessible to all the representatives of the Nations and other actors involved in the Universal Periodic Revision. In addition, the Office of Human Rights organizes various side events to share the good practices implemented at the local level to guarantee the right to education and the empowerment of children, young people, and women, insuring their active participation in society. Furthermore, there is collaboration with Governments, United Nations Experts, and other civil society actors, with the aim of engaging in constructive dialogue to effectively address human rights violations.

As part of formation and capacity building activities, courses, meetings, interactive seminars, workshops are organized in Geneva and in the field to train people who operate at the local level, to continue their work of protection and promotion of rights humans with greater awareness of the international mechanisms and procedures of the United Nations aimed at defending these same rights. This formation aims to educate local actors about active citizenship and the care of the common home from a human rights perspective.

In the field of communication, in particular through the website and social networks, the Office carries out an intense activity of sharing and updating on the main challenges encountered every day for the full realization of human rights and on the progress made thanks to the action of the United Nations. The sending of ad hoc information to the Provinces concerned is also important.

The Office of Human Rights aims to ensure all children and young people a future to be free citizens of the world. Together we can work, so that human rights become a reality - and not just a wish - for everyone. "The human being, as Pope Francis points out, is a creature of this world, who has the right to live and be happy" (Laudato Sì, n. 44).

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