International Solidarity: a right for all.

On Thursday, June 8th 2017, the international office of APG23, in collaboration with the Catholic Working Group on the Right to International Solidarity, has organized a side event during the 35th regular session of the Human Rights Council that is taking place at the Palace of the United Nations, in Geneva. (from 6th to 23th of June 2017).

The event, held to discuss the importance to promote the right to International Solidarity, has seen the participation of many NGOs and some delegations of Member States which have demonstrated a high interest for the thematic of the debate itself and for the statements of the panelists.

The debate, moderated by Jorge M. Dias Ferreira (New Humanity) had collected the statements of:

Another purpose of holding this event was in fact to publicly recognize the great merit of Ms. Virginia Dandan on crafting the draft declaration on the Right to International Solidarity that for years APG23 has been promoting and supporting as a principle and a right, standing in the forefront and with a leading role among civil society.

In a historic era as the one we are living in now, characterized by uncertainty and worldwide crisis of different entities, International Solidarity can act as the tool, as the missing link to imagine a different world where no individual or people is left aside or discriminated. As highlighted by Maria Mercedes Rossi, to recognize this principle as a human right is now more than ever “an essential necessity for the survival of the world for the promotion and protection of the common good, a necessary instrument for promoting a fairer and more equal word and a crucial move to live in peace and harmony”.

As reminded by Mr. De Zayas, the Civil Society, including APG23, has had a fundamental role in the promotion of rights like International Solidarity, the Right to Peace and the Right to Development and had actively collaborate in the drafting process of the declarations of such rights. It is now up to the States to overcome every political and geographical division in order to recover the sense of fraternity and equality that seems to have been lost.

According to Msgr. Ivan Jurkovic, Nuncio to the United Nations, international solidarity is the only way to face the several global challenges in an alternative way to the one typical of politics, mainly focused on divisions among human beings and states. At the opposite “Solidarity is an unconditioned care to the other” so all actors, private, national and international have to fully engage in order to ensure the full realization of human dignity and the common good as the good of all individuals and peoples. He concluded his speech quoting Pope Francis’ words about solidarity: “Solidarity is the most effective antidote to modern forms of populism. Solidarity entails the awareness of being part of a single body, while at the same time involving a capacity on the part of each member to “sympathize” with others and with the whole. When one suffers, all suffer

Virginia Dandan reaffirmed her commitment to continue her contribution to the declaration on the right to international solidarity as a means for combating global challenges, nationalism, segmentation, poverty, threats to fundamental rights, and for building a new model of globalization based on cooperation and fraternity among peoples. However, as she stated, to spread worldwide international solidarity requires actions not only by the civil society, but also and mainly by governments.

At the end of the side event, APG23 had distributed a leaflet realized by its international office in Geneva representing Einstein, the scientist, with a new equation: international solidarity = human rights x right to development elevated to the infinite. The meaning of this equation is that the right to international solidarity would immensely enhance the respect of all the others human rights and the implementation of the right to development so long desired and waited for by the people of the world, especially the most vulnerable.

To conclude the public side event, someone from the public quoted a recent statement of Pope Francis: “Nothing in Nature lives for itself. Rivers don’t drink their own water. Trees don’t eat their own fruit. Sun doesn’t give heat for itself. Flowers don’t spread fragrance for themselves. Living for others is the rule of Nature.”

On Friday 9th June, the APG23 office has also organized a party to greet and thank again Ms. Virginia Dandan for her constant dedication and involvement during her two mandates.  All the people in the room have committed themselves to continue the negotiations and discussions on all these topics in order to make the work of the Independent Expert continue to evolve in years to come. Ms. Dandan, very moved by the words of gratitude received, highly thanked all the organizations for their support in the last years, with a particular mention to Maria Mercedes Rossi that she has described as a landmark for all the supporters and promoters of the right to peace, to development and to international solidarity. APG23 thanked the Independent Expert for having kept her promise to provide the draft declaration which can now permit to the Civil Society to continue to strongly promote the recognition of the right to International Solidarity worldwide.

In its last meetings, the Human Rights Council will appoint a new Independent Expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity which will continue Virginia Dandan’s work. The common hope is that we will soon come to more concrete results and that the Council will officially recognize International Solidarity as a right for all, being (as stated in art. 1 of the draft declaration) the representation of “a spirit of unity among individuals, peoples and States and international organizations"

Elisa Paradisi

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