Peoples' Participation: Essential to Achieving Human Rights Worldwide

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November 30th 2014, Marrakech, Morocco

During the Second World Human Rights Forum, the National Observatory of Child Rights in Morocco (ONDE) and the United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC) organized a high level panel discussion on strengthening participation of people, particularly children and youth, in defining the UN sustainable development agenda. The forum took place in Marrakesh from 27-30 November 2014, building on the first World Human Rights Forum held in Brasilia in December 2013.

It was a memorable occasion as more than 7,000 human right activists from all over the world gathered in Marrakech. The ONDE and UNMC panel discussion during the Forum featured a statement by Mr. Thomas Gass, Assistant Secretary General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs of UNDESA. “This event has come as a very timely occasion as we are in the midst of a process to define a new sustainable development framework to succeed the Millennium Development Goals. It is both a great opportunity and a huge responsibility for the United Nations and the rest of the international community.”

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Ravi Karkara, co-chair of the Policy Strategy Group for the World We Want 2015 (WWW2015), commended the government of Morocco for bringing together human rights activists and sustainable development practitioners to discuss the post-2015 development agenda. He called for establishing partnerships with children and young people, and for accountability panels in the implementation and monitoring of this agenda.

(C) UNNGLS
(C) UNNGLS

The Forum also celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN-CRC). The legendary Olympic gold medal runner Saïd Aouita participated in a five kilometer road race to draw attention to the need to fulfil the human rights of the most marginalized boys and girls.

Juan Chebly, Coordinator of the World We Want 2015, highlighted the importance of social inclusion and participation in building a sustainable development agenda with human rights at its core. Jasmine Jaruphand, Programme Coordinator of UNMC called upon children and young people to strengthen their participation in the MY World 2015 Survey and invited them to participate on the online discussions on the WWW2015.

Susan Alzner, Officer in Charge of the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) New York, called for strengthening of civil society organizations worldwide and drew attention to their pivotal role in ensuring a well-defined, people-centered sustainable development agenda and holding governments and the private sector accountable.

On the occasion of the 25 year anniversary of the UN-CRC, Dr. Mustapha Denial emphasized that the rights of the most marginalised boys and girls, including children with disabilities, indigenous and minority children, must be respected, protected and fulfilled. Najib Somoue of ONDE expressed the National Observatory’s commitment to realizing the human rights and an inclusive sustainable development agenda in Morocco.

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(C) UNNGLS

Echoing the sentiments from this panel discussion, Ms. Navi Pillay, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights declared at the closing ceremony of the Forum, “We want to see people at the center of all decision-making for policy that affects them. Listening to civil society is more urgent and indispensable than ever.”

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Contact:

  • Najib Somoue, ONDE
  • Juan Elias Chebly, WWW-2015 Coordinador: juan.chebly@undp.org

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Highlights

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqJmbkVr2CA

People in Bahrain Have Their Say at the United Nations

What priorities do Bahranians choose for a better world?

For the past month, UN Bahrain has rolled out a campaign to bring the people of Bahrain’s voices to the United Nations using the MY World Survey. These efforts range from unique visits to collect votes at schools, at the APM Terminals (container terminal port management), and at the 16th International Book Fair at the Bahrain Exhibition Centre. It also includes a strong presence on social media and media outlets (see articles below). In culmination, UN Bahrain and its partner Gulf Air have launched a MY World video highlighting the top priorities emerging from the survey, which will be screened aboard all flights starting 1 May .

These efforts have certainly paid off. In just one month’s time, votes from Bahrain have increased 28%, currently numbering 4,092 votes. Yet the UN wants more: “the My World Survey presents an important and unique opportunity for Bahrain, as a small island state, to be heard on a global platform with its particular needs and challenges,” said UN Resident Coordinator Peter Grohmann.

So, what are the priorities of people from Bahrain? Here are a few facts from the voting results thus far:

  • The top six priorities are: “A good education,” “Better healthcare,” “Better job opportunities, “An honest and responsive government,” “Protection from crime and violence,” and “Freedom from discrimination and persecution.”
  • 57% of voters are aged 30 and younger.
  • 42% of voters are female.
  • Women place a higher priority on “Protection against crime and violence,” and “Access to clean water and sanitation,” and “Equality between men and women.” Men place a higher priority on “Political freedoms” and “Better transport and roads.”
  • The older the voter, the higher the priority on “An honest and responsive government” and “Freedom from discrimination and persecution.”
  • Voters aged 15 and under placed the highest priority on “Access to clean water and sanitation,” “Affordable and Nutritious food,” and “Protecting forests, rivers and oceans” – yet they voted the least for “Action taken on climate change” out of any age group.

To see more MY World and The World We Want Results

UN Bahrain:

Media Mentions:

Voting at the Book Fair

HM Queen Rania meets with the ‘Mark a Difference’ volunteers

5th February, 2014 (Petra, Jordan)

The “Mark A Difference” volunteers in Jordan reiterated their commitment to the Post-2015 cause and to the dissemination of the MY World survey in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah. As a member of UN Secretary General’s High-level Panel (HLP), formed to advise on the global development agenda beyond 2015, Queen Rania met with these very active and enthusiastic youth to discuss the roll out and the outcomes of the “Mark A Difference” campaign in Jordan.

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Since the launch of the campaign by the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in May 2013, the volunteers have been a valuable asset in spreading the survey across the Kingdom. Aged between 13 and 25 years old, this young crew comes from the different governorates of Jordan and is determined to give a voice to people in their local communities, and the opportunity to tell global leaders what is the future they want.

During the meeting, HM Queen Rania asserted the important role young Jordanians played in promoting the survey across the Kingdom, thus contributing in identifying priorities and challenges that will help shape the post-2015 agenda. The Queen noted that the volunteers’ participation in promoting the survey is a valuable experience, allowing them to get to know, firsthand, the priorities of their country and find ways that can help overcome the challenges of the development agenda.

Volunteers shared with the Queen their experiences from working in the field, noting that the people they encountered showed great interest in participating in the survey and were delighted to voice their opinions and share their thoughts on national development priorities. “It is really fulfilling to see children in schools reading the survey carefully and discussing what they want to vote for” – said Doha, a volunteer from Amman.Image

Preliminary results from the MY World survey show that the first priorities for Jordan are better job opportunities and better education, followed by better healthcare and honest and responsive government. In this regard, Ali –a volunteer from Irbid- stressed that the first two priorities are closely linked: “If students do not get a proper education, an education that gives them the necessary knowledge and skills to work, then no company will be interested in hiring them”.

Her Majesty added that it is crucial to publish the results of the survey so far so that decision makers and stakeholders can benefit from them. The words of HM Queen Rania strongly motivated the volunteers who are ready to expand their network and continue their efforts in disseminating the survey and the results across the country.

Young representatives also attended the meeting from various local organizations, including Irbid Youth Volunteers, Family Kitchen and X Feer. 

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Inclusiveness marks the MY World campaign in Jordan

Building on the enthusiasm of several thousands of Jordanians and 190 organizations mobilized during the Post-2015 agenda national consultations, in May the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator and the UN Country Team in Jordan launched the “Mark A Difference” campaign. Expectations are rising high as more than 300 volunteers are already on board to disseminate the MY World survey in schools and universities across the country, through popular fairs, shopping malls, public events, and approaching people in central avenues. “Of course I want to vote, but I also would like to help you make other Jordanians vote” (Mark A Difference volunteer, July 2013).

While almost 20,000 off-line ballots are travelling across the Kingdom ready to be filled, the top interaction is happening on the UN newly launched social media accounts. Twitter and Facebook captured the attention of prominent people as well as youth, in a total of 8,000 users from all over the country. No surprise then, that the campaign brought us new partners! Jordan’s number one hit music station, Play 99.6 FM, broadcasted 180 times spots on the MY World survey in one month, while 25,000 SMS-ads hit mobile phones screens across the nation. The highlight of this month is the announcement of an Instagram competition on the theme “The Future We Want”.

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UNV Jordan puts an “Eye on the Future”

Children and youth represent the future everywhere in this world –a truth more relevant now than ever, as half of the world’s population is under 25. Jordan is no exception in this respect. The Kingdom is a very young society, and the challenges that especially young Jordanians face in terms of unemployment and civic participation are steep.  However, also in Jordan young people realize they can bring positive change to their communities and to their country. A handful of these motivated Jordanians  created an initiative that aims to provide high school students the chance to make a more sustainable and informed decision regarding their studies. “We were not happy and had to chance something. So we had the idea of “Eye on the Future ”, explains Malek Abu Ghanemeh, one of the initiators. “Eye on Future” was established three years ago as an annual event and an open air carnival of experience exchange. The active exchange and the provision of information will eventually decrease the level of frustration amongst students as well as their families and lead to an overall positive effect on the community as well. Since the whole fair focused on the future of youth, it also gathered different organizations and initiatives and programs, such as “Talal Abu Ghazaleh Knowledge Society” or “Bee Academy”, all aiming to inform students for example about effective learning programs.

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Alberto Natta from Italy, Post-2015 – Assistant at the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator, collecting votes for the My World Survey at the “Eyes on the Future” Fair at University of Jordan (Rana Jarhum, UNV Programme Officer, July 7th 2013).

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