The United Nations is committed to fighting against slavery and considers bonded labour, forced labour, the worst forms of child labour and trafficking people as modern forms of slavery.
Some sources say that more than one million children are trafficked each year for cheap labour or sexual exploitation.
These types of slavery are global problems and go against article four of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that “no one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms”.
Disability Day, or the International Day of People with Disability, is a day that has been promoted by the United Nations since 1992.
The aim of Disability Day is to encourage a better understanding of people affected by a disability, together with helping to make people more aware of the rights, dignity and welfare of disabled people, as well as raise awareness about the benefits of integrating disabled persons into every aspect of life, from economic, to political, to social and cultural.
Disability Day is not concerned exclusively with either mental or physical disabilities, but rather encompasses all known disabilities, from Autism to Down Syndrome to Multiple Sclerosis.
Today, marks the opening in Paris of the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP). Some 195 delegations are to be present with 150 heads of state expected to attend.
According to the organizing committee, the objective of the 2015 conference is to achieve, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, a binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world.
Pope Francis published an encyclical called Laudato si’ intended, in part, to influence the conference. The encyclical calls for action against climate change.
The International Trade Union Confederation has called for the goal to be « zero carbon, zero poverty », and the general secretary Sharan Burrow has repeated that there are « no jobs on a dead planet ». (Wikipedia and others)
When walking on the streets, I observe people around. Even on the move, some are busy keying in a texto! Others are hurrying, running to catch a bus or rushing to meet a deadline. Sad to say, many people are walking with stooped shoulders and sad faces. Their steps seem heavy, and their hearts even more so!… They move with their heads down seeming overwhelmed with negative feelings of all kinds.
As I read the gospel for this 1st Sunday of Advent (Lk.21:25-28,34-36), I thought of those people when I read the words: « Hold your heads high » (v.28). There is no denying that life can be hard at times – difficulties of all kinds keep coming at us: sickness, financial problems, strained relationships with the people we live and work with. Add to that the bitter regrets, dashed hopes, guilty feelings, lack of incentive, broken promises from those we love, and your list and mine could go on…
We really don’t feel like ‘lifting our heads high’ in such situations. We would be more inclined to bury our heads in the sand like the proverbial ostrich! How can we hold our heads high? We don’t feel the energy even to attempt doing that…
But the second part of verse 28 opens up a new perspective when it assures us: « Because your liberation is near at hand. »
People talk much of liberty, but liberation? Yet, is it not what we most need, all of us? Being freed from our fears and regrets, our obsessions, our tensions and frustrations – all that prevents us from being as God meant us to be. All too often, we find ourselves in a land of slavery – a slavery we may have grown accustomed to. This is what ADVENT is about: it is a time when we allow Someone to take over as he tells us: « I am coming, I am already here to free you from what is not your true self. » And it is the time to allow him to do so . . .
St. Francis de Sales was a ‘master’ of the spiritual life and was keen to help lay people find a simple and genuine way to relate to God in their daily life. He repeats Jesus’ message not to be afraid. He has this to say:
« Do not look forward to the misfortunes of this life in fear, but foresee them with a perfect hope that in the measure they happen, God to whom you belong, will rescue you from them. He has protected you up to the present. Do not think about what will happen tomorrow, for the same eternal Father who has care of you today, will have care of you both tomorrow and always. Either he will give you no evil at all, or if he does give it to you, he will give you and invincible courage to bear it. »
Paris, Bamako, violence and terror: we wonder, we worry…
Awful, terrible, inhuman – we lack words to describe the reality. France, Mali, Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, Palestine… The litany could go on and on… Yes, we wonder, we worry and… and we search for answers.
The gospel does not speak of terrorism but on this Tuesday of the 34th week of the liturgical year, the message we read (Lk.21:5-11) describes situations of violence and terror and yet we are told: « Do not be frightened. »
We wonder, we worry and… we pray:
Lord, in our world so many things happen every day;
the news bulletins bombard us with events
such as those we hear about in today’s gospel – wars, earthquakes, plagues and famine.
We listen to facts and statistics that impress on us
a vivid picture of what is taking place.
Somehow, we get used to this kind of news,
but sometimes we feel uneasy, upset, anxious.
We need to hear anew your message: « Do not be frightened. »
We ask you: Help us to put our trust in your words
and not to be shaken by anything that may happen. AMEN.
November 24th has been set aside – globally – as World Bible Day. One day a year assigned to the Word of God. Really ? Is it not daily that we need to find there inspiration, strength, comfort, all that enables us to be and to live as we are meant to?
The Psalmist had understood this as he prayed with utter conviction: « Remember, Lord, the word you pledged your servant, on which you have built my hope. » « Your word is a lamp to my feet, Lord, a light on my path. » (Ps.119:49,95)
To make the Day a global call for action, WWSF launched in 2001 an international NGO coalition that marks the World Day with appropriate events and activities to focus on and increase prevention education.
In 2001, 150 NGOs joined an international coalition to mark the Day with public awareness campaigns and prevention education. More than 100 organizations sent reports of local and national events organized on 19 November. They are part of an emerging movement for the creation of a culture of prevention. The Republic of Costa Rica is the first country that declared by Presidential Decree 19 November a National Day.
From: WWSF website page: Women’s world Summit Foundation: Women and Children first