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(ANS – Geneva) – The Office of Human Rights of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians with the Salesian NGO “International Voluntary Service Women, Education, Development” (VIDES International) provided information at the level of the United Nations in the 20th Session of the Council for Human Rights at Geneva, about what the Institute has been doing to bring hope once again to the children and young people of Haiti.
As a follow up to the parallel event in June 2010 “The right to uninterrupted education for children in a state of emergency: the case of Haiti” – the FMA and VIDES, in agreement with Sr. Maria Luisa Miranda, Councillor with responsibility for the Salesian Family and the Provincial of Haiti, presented a project showing that only through investment in education is real development possible.
Following the same procedure that the Office has successfully used in the last four years in Geneva: there was a presentation of the good practice employed by the Institute in those areas in which respect for human rights is called for by allowing people from the place itself to speak.
Before this, as usual, a course of a theoretical-practical nature was offered on the procedure involved for defending human rights which enabled those taking part to make their contribution at some of the meetings of the Council and to contact representatives of Governments and of the High Commission. Afterwards on 4 July, the parallel event took place for the presentation of what the Institute had been able to do with some explanations, through its efforts in Haiti.
The event was sponsored by the Governments of Haiti, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Ecuador and El Salvador, by the Holy See and the NGO Forum for the Right to Education. About 80 people took part including various international government officials. It was chaired by Maria Francisca Ize-Charrin, recently elected President of VIDES Switzerland, and involved a round table session, two personal experiences and an open discussion.
At the round table were representatives of Governments (from the Embassies of Haiti and Uruguay), of the High Commission for Human Rights (Maria Clara Martin, responsible for the America Section), for Special Procedures (Michel Forst, Independent Expert on the human rights situation in Haiti, and Kishore Singh, special envoy of the United Nations on the Right to Education) and representatives of civil society (IIMA, VIDES, French Caritas, Right to Education Forum) all clearly engaged in improving the hopeful signs of progress in the future for Haiti.
Personal experiences were described by Sr. Jean-Louis Dieudonne for the International Institute of Mary help of Christians and by Abelard Beltsie, from VIDES. In a passionate and clear presentation of the right to education of the child, a right seen in all its dimensions: to health, identity, culture, school, high ‘quality’ education and to a family Sr. Jean-Louis not only held the attention of the Assembly but provoked the comment: “Finally we can now see how the right to education implies not only schools but all these other things.”
In simple and moving words Abelard Beltsie, who spoke of having a future thanks to the help of the Sisters, expressed the desire to work with the smallest ones so that they too might have a peaceful future life.