Happy UN Day 2014

unacto11.jpgOctober 24th is United Nations Day, a global observance that marks the 69th anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter.

The day has been celebrated since 1948, and, in 1971, the United Nations General Assembly recommended that it was observed by Member States as a public holiday.

The UN Day provides a unique opportunity to remember and to make people aware of the goals and the achievements of the United Nations Organization with meetings, discussions and exhibits throughout the world.

We want to celebrate and to embrace the work of the UN to make a difference and to positively impact the lives of the people around the globe, with the achievement of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and working towards the post-2015 development agenda.

“The UN has 4 main purposes:

  • to keep peace throughout the world
  • to develop friendly relations among nations
  • to help nations work together to improve the lives of poor people, to conquer hunger, disease and illiteracy, and to encourage respect for each other’s rights and freedoms
  • to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations to achieve these goals.”

The theme of the 2014 UN Day is ‘Global Citizenship and Youth‘, to highlight the essential relevance of educating the younger generations to build and enhance a more peaceful and respectful global society.
Education is the key to provide the understanding that we are tied together as citizens of the global community, and that our challenges are interconnected.

“The United Nations is needed more than ever at this time of multiple crises. […] At this critical moment, let us reaffirm our commitment to empowering the marginalized and vulnerable. On United Nations Day, I call on Governments and individuals to work in common cause for the common good. “

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Please join us in celebrating the spirit of United Nations Day on Sunday Oct 26 at 11:00 am with the presentation of the John Gibbard Memorial Award to Ta’Kaiya Blaney at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver.

Source:

UN Day: un.org/en/events/unday
The Charter of the United Nations:  un.org/en/documents/charter

Post submitted by UNAC-Vancouver website writer Sabrina Miso.

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Inaugural Annual Rosemary Brown Memorial Conference – Sept 13

The Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies and the Rosemary Brown Award Committee invite you to attend

Inequality and Rights:  A Feminist Perspective

Inaugural Annual Rosemary Brown Memorial Conference

Saturday, September 13, 2014
8:30 AM to 1:00 PM

Room 1700, Labatt Hall
SFU Harbour Centre

Free, but reservation required:  sfu.ca/reserve

Rosemary Brown campaigned tirelessly in her lifetime for the rights of marginalized groups.  A distinguished social worker and the first Black woman to be elected to a Canadian legislature, she was also a respected feminist and academic, teaching at SFU as the Ruth Wynn Woodward Chair in Women’s Studies.  She served as the Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission and on many Boards that were committed to equality principles.  She was awarded the Order of BC and became an Officer of the Order of Canada and a Commander of the Order of Distinction of Jamaica. This conference will honour her legacy by bringing together academics and members of the broader community to talk about issues of diversity, persistent inequality, and social justice.

Speakers:

Margot Young, Faculty of Law, University of British Columbia
Habiba Zaman, Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, Simon Fraser University
Marcy Cohen, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Carol Martin, Victim Services Worker, Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre
Cecily Nicholson, No One is Illegal and Social Housing Alliance of BC
Saylesh Wesley, PhD Candidate, SFU, and Chilliwack Field Centre Coordinator, NITEP, UBC
Alexa McDonough, former leader of the federal NDP and member of the House of Commons.

For event poster: Inequality and Rights Poster

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West Coast LEAF: this year’s recipient of the Rosemary Brown Award for Women

unacto11.jpgUNAC-Vancouver and our partners, BCFED, University Women’s Club, National Congress of Black Women, Society for Children and Youth of BC, BC Human Rights Coalition, BC Association of Social Workers are proud to present the winner of this year’s Rosemary Brown Award for Women: West Coast Legal Education and Action Fund.

West Coast LEAF is being recognized for its extraordinary contributions in the area of women’s rights.

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 7.56.19 PMWest Coast LEAF is a unique organization in BC that uses the law to further women’s equality. West Coast LEAF envisions a society in which women are full participants in the social, economic, and political activities of the nation. They strive to create a society in which differences are respected and supported by the law, and by social and institutional policies and practices.

They work to achieve equality by intervening in strategic test cases that protect or advance Charter and human rights. Their law reform initiatives track legislation affecting the legal rights of women, and they engage with government to ensure that law and policy respect equality rights. They also deliver public legal education workshops that train people on legal tools and strategies, including peer-to-peer training for young people on consent, safe relationships, and workplace rights.

Everything they do is aimed at ensuring greater equality for women and all people in BC. They use the law as a tool to create change – and where the law itself perpetuates injustice and inequality, they work to change the law. They have been speaking their minds since 1985 – the year the equality provisions of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms came into effect.

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Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 7.52.01 PMThe award is a memorial to the life and work of the late Hon. Rosemary Brown, a champion for equality rights of women everywhere. Each year the Award is presented to a woman or a women’s group who has made an outstanding contribution to one of the seven theme areas championed by Rosemary Brown. This year’s theme focuses on Women’s Rights

Ms. Cleta Brown, daughter of Rosemary Brown will present the Award to West Coast LEAF.

Crisis in the Central African Republic

unacto1“The worst crisis most people have never heard of” – Samantha Power, US Ambassador to the UN.

As a community of people who share an interest in peace and humanity, and realize the importance of working together to ensure the world acts to help the most vulnerable, we all need to be, at the very least, aware of what is happening in the Central African Republic (CAR).

This landlocked country situated, as its not very imaginative name suggests, in the center of the African continent has been a victim of its geography and its colonial history for many decades. A former French colony, it became fully independent in 1960. Its independence has been marred by corruption and military rule. Added to this, its unstable regional neighborhood includes Chad, Sudan, South Sudan, the DRC and the Republic of Congo. This country has always been battling against the odds.

Screen Shot 2013-11-30 at 9.20.27 AMIn 2007, an alliance was formed under the name Séléka (‘Union’), which was made up of three rebel groups. In April of that year, President François Bozize, who himself had ousted the former president from power in 2003, negotiated an accord with Seleka, resulting in them joining the CAR army.

In 2012, a turbulent situation began deteriorating rapidly. The Séléka rebels, angry that promised peace accords were not being followed, began to take up arms, separate from the army. They gained control of much of the north and midlands of the country. In March of this year, the rebels led by Michel Djotodia, overthrew Bozize and took power in the capital city of Bangui. The country, home to nearly 4.5 million people has experienced the worst levels of brutality and lawlessness mainly along religious and ethnic lines ever since.

Screen Shot 2013-11-30 at 9.21.34 AMSlowly, and not a moment too soon, we are seeing signs that the first substantial action to be taken by the international community could be imminent. The Security Council convened an emergency meeting last Monday to discuss the situation on the ground. They are currently considering an arms embargo and a travel ban on certain troublesome individuals[1]. France has 450 troops stationed in the country and has promised to raise this to a thousand troops in an effort to bring some stability and back up African Union troops[2].

Journalists who have stayed on in the country despite serious security concerns are reporting stories which the world simply cannot ignore. David Smith of the UK Guardian, reporting from Bosangoa in the northwest, describes “a massacre of the innocents” with common scenes of “unspeakable horrors” being carried out by militia and mercenaries[3]. Thousands of civilians have been murdered, mass rape and torture is becoming routine, villages are being razed and children are being forced to fight. Diseases such as malaria are rampant.

France’s foreign minister Laurent Fabuis, warned last week that CAR is on the “verge of genocide”[4]. The world stands yet again on the eve of another Rwanda. In six months’ time, I truly hope we don’t hear another politician usher the infamous last words ‘never again, can this be allowed to happen’.

Some stories, too grotesque for this article, show the sheer evil we are capable of and we must not allow willful blindness to soothe our conscious