8 December 2007


At the annual commemoration of Human Rights Day on Dec 10th, the Human Rights Council of the United Nations is due to announce a yearlong campaign leading up to the sixtieth anniversary of the promulgation of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which was adopted and proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 10, 1948.

For all its flaws the UN remains the world’s best hope of building a just, peaceful and sustainable world.

Documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, described by Pope John Paul II as "one of the highest expressions of the human conscience of our time", and the Convention on the Rights of the Child deserve to be better known and understood as they can be powerful tools in applying moral pressure to governments in order to bring about change.

Traditionally the work of Religious Congregations has been to minister directly to people by providing them with faith based services in education, health etc thereby changing their lives for the better.

The UN and its system provide an opportunity to influence decisions that are made at a governmental and global level thereby improving the lives of a much greater number of people.

Involvement in the UN system is most effective in places where the UN is based and where international NGO’s are concentrated eg Geneva, New York.

The above considerations have led to the establishment of Edmund Rice International in Geneva.

‘Forgotten Australians’
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