12 Jul 2018
Salesian Contributions at U.N. Council in Geneva in Behalf of Rights of Most Vulnerable
(ANS – Geneva – July 11) – The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians are present in 95 countries on six continents. As the International Institute of Mary Help of Christians (IIMA), they obtained special consultative status of the United Nations Economic and Social Council in 2008. From that moment on, with Sr. Maria Grazia Caputo as head of the team, IIMA has contributed to the work of the Human Rights Council and to the universal periodic review of the situation of human rights through the Human Rights Office.
IIMA’s Human Rights Office works with the U.N. and also collaborates with the FMAs’ NGO Vides to carry out its activities and, at the same time, to highlight the work of the entire congregation for children and young people on the six continents.
Within the United Nations, IIMA also works to promote the right to education, urging governments to respect the agreements stipulated on this issue. It also asks that preventive action be taken in the most urgent situations and, thanks to U.N. side events, presents a series of good practices implemented by the Salesian Family
IIMA also supports the presence of U.N. experts to inform on the situation of human rights around the globe; offers the opportunity to participate in U.N. meetings; and organizes courses to make international procedures for the protection of human rights known.
Since 2009, IIMA has organized 20 side events, focusing on the recovery and integration of children at risk all over the world. Of note, it has helped governments to focus on young people, urging them to take action in the sessions of the Human Rights Council.
Since 2009, IIMA has organized 21 training courses in Geneva for 146 participants from 53 countries, and it has presented reports to the Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights for at least 46 countries, always collaborating with experts and government representatives, who have shown their admiration for Salesian work.
In the office itself there are young people who collaborate, have the opportunity to carry out their internships at the U.N., and share their lives with the Salesian community. 96 young people from 16 different countries have collaborated thus far.
The method that guarantees the success of IIMA and Vides is the “positive denunciation” that, in full Salesian style, “highlights all that is positive in those contexts where the weakest live in more difficult situations,” says Sr. Maria Grazia Caputo.