ERI online course creates a buzz for human rights in Misean Cara projects

World Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10th December, the day when the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948. The UDHR is a milestone document, supported by many other conventions and declarations since, which proclaims the inalienable rights that everyone, regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, or other status, is entitled to as a human being.

The 2020 theme for Human Rights Day is ‘Recover Better: Stand Up for Human Rights’, which applies throughout the COVID-19 response and for a post-pandemic world rooted in solidarity, interconnectedness and shared humanity.

This resonates beautifully with Pope Francis’s call, in Fratelli Tutti, for ‘togetherness’ in the global community at this time, and ‘preparing the future’ of justice, equality and environmental stewardship, forged through common humanity, universal fraternity and protection for the marginalised.

This resonates beautifully with Pope Francis’s call, in Fratelli Tutti, for ‘togetherness’ in the global community at this time, and ‘preparing the future’ of justice, equality and environmental stewardship, forged through common humanity, universal fraternity and protection for the marginalised.   

In support of an increased focus on human rights across the different sectors where members work, Misean Cara has supported Geneva-based Edmund Rice International (ERI) in its efforts to increase the reach and scope of its online human rights advocacy course in 2020.

This has meant ERI delivering a weekly online training programme, ‘Acting Justly’, from October through 11th December, and which has attracted over 300 registered participants from across Misean Cara members in more than 35 countries. 

Diverse presenters from the UN, grassroots advocacy partners, state diplomats and Misean Cara, guided and coordinated by ERI, used various participatory methods to explore how projects can embed human rights and advocacy, in practical and locally relevant ways.

Screenshot from Br. Kevin Cawley’s presentation during the ERI Zoom training

The early topics covered were: adjusting from service or charity approaches to a human rights focus; understanding human rights norms; engaging with human rights mechanisms; advocating on Laudato Si’, Care of the Earth and the SDGs.

Participants went on to explore good practice on: enabling participation, data gathering and representative community voices; influencing local state or civil actors for progressive social change; engaging effectively with the Human Rights Council and the Universal Period Review at the UN; and leveraging state policy or practice commitments for marginalized and vulnerable groups in society.        

A core group of 200-plus participants attended the vast majority of training sessions, culminating in assignments that aim to embed their learning in an action plan for their own communities and projects.

Overall, the course will help members deepen the human rights focus across education, health, water and sanitation, sustainable livelihoods, climate action and social accountability – in terms of engaging and empowering communities, and better holding duty bearers to account for the fulfilment of rights.

But participants are not alone in learning and sharing, they are also ‘connecting’ in a very human way that will support an evolving, cross-congregation network of social justice and human rights animators criss-crossing the globe.

In doing this, Misean Cara members are right behind the global call to put human rights at the centre of the post-COVID world, and our wide-ranging initiatives in over 50 countries fully support the intention to:

  • End Discrimination of any kind
  • Address Inequalities
  • Encourage participation and solidarity
  • Promote sustainable development

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