The right to education and to peace for Lebanese children

[UN-NGO] Sister Germaine Price, representing the Company of the Daughters of Charity at the United Nations, shares the news below from the UN in Geneva

A formation session on The right to education at to peace for Lebanese children was organized by the Salesian Sisters of Geneva for their Sisters.  Since this session had been offered to religious congregations having Sisters in Lebanon, I proposed to Sr. Evelyne that Sister Claude ABI-RIZK, directress of the Ajaltoun-Kesserwan school complex, come to participate.

The session, held from the 5th to the 14th of March 2012, was in two parts:

  • theoretical – for the Salesian Sisters to discover the different mechanisms of the United Nations: the role of the Human Rights Council and, especially, the “Universal Periodic Review” to give information about the real situation of those who are poor and to express their aspirations for improvement
  • practical – to attend meetings of the Human Rights Council as well as several parallel events organized by the NGO’s and information sessions.

At the same time, our local communities in Geneva, Cornaux and Fribourg benefited from the presence of Sister Claude.  This allowed us to get to know the work of our Sisters in Lebanon: their situation and difficulties but especially their audacity for teaching, educating and raising children.

I let Sr. Claude explain to us these formation days:

First of all, I thank the Company for having given me this rare opportunity to get to know this world organization and, in particular, to familiarize myself with its work in human rights and dignity, founded on inalienable rights.  I also want to thank the Sisters for the welcome that they gave me.

I – What I learned:

  • The different groups listed below are all linked,
  • The Human Rights Council has an exceptional meeting whenever there is a crisis in a country with an impact on human rights, lack of food, water, health care, problem of housing, insecurity and danger to life, extreme poverty…  It is important to come together in order to face the situation and help the people in difficulty,
  • In listening to the interventions of the NGO’s who accurately described the situation of the poor, I realized that we, Daughters of Charity, cannot be afraid to say and describe the sorrow lived by those who are poor.  We need to get close to the Office of Human Rights in our different countries.

II – What I most appreciated

  • That the Company be represented at the UN whether inNew YorkorGeneva,
  • I better understood the importance of internationality which opens us to the suffering of people and touches me in my vocation as a servant of the poor, knowing that we have sisters in one country or another when we hear their miseries.   The Echo of the Company sends us messages of our Sisters at a distance but being at the heart of the Human Rights Council, in the presence of all countries seeking solutions, is quite different.

III – What I can put into practice:

In the course of the session we received the title, “Defenders of Human Rights.”  We could envision this mission under several aspects:

  • Teach Human Rights to our students in their own mother tongue
  • Teach children to know and defend their rights
  • Respond positively when the Company asks us to concretely describe a situation and to be ready to respond to all the questions posed by a Universal Periodic Review and its different committees (children, racial discrimination, handicapped persons…)
  • Collaborate with the local office of the Human Rights Committee in our countries

This experience opened new horizons for me for the future.  The experience was a call for me to associate myself more with efforts for peach in the world and the Missionof the Company in our Province.

Sister Claude ABI-RIZK

From Sr. Monique Javouhey, representative of the Company of the Daughters of Charity at the United Nations for Human Rights.

For more information on Daughters of Charity at the UN: www.cmdcngo.org

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