Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Success Story: From Internship to UN Representative

This story tells of the work that our sister representative at our UN-NGO participated in prior to beginning her work at our NGO at the UN.

An example of successful project work at the grassroots level that leads to politics: MISEREOR has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council and supports selected partners in raising concerns. For example, MISEREOR funded the training requested by Sister Justine Gitanjali Senapati CSJ (Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Annecy) at Pax
Sr. Justine
Romana in Geneva on the functioning of the United Nations. The sister had previously led a project in the Indian state of Odisha. She was active there in the Kandhamal region, which is marked by Hindu fundamentalist violence, in particular by Christian Dalits (casteless, who are denied the most elementary rights). Many women, including some nuns, were raped and deprived of their livelihoods. 50,000 people hid in the woods. Sister Justine trained women in human rights work and empowered them to improve their own situation. Logically, in addition to the legal work done by Sister Justine, it is very important for women with experience of violence to be protective as well to provide security. Nonetheless, the representation of women increased at all Decision Levels. In particular, they engaged in peace initiatives. The Gender perspective has become an integral part of peacekeeping and attention has been paid to respect for human rights, especially for women and girls. With many houses, small farms and crops destroyed, traffickers had an easy time luring desperate people into the cities with the promise of "work". For women and girls, this meant forced prostitution. Sister Justine, together with the local authorities, sought her release from the sex industry. This succeeded only in individual cases. To draw attention to the terrible situation, she organized a Side Event at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in June 2011, supported by MISEREOR, on trafficking in women. In order to navigate the complex system of the United Nations, she was assisted with the procedures of the Franciscans International and Pax Romana. Her authentic testimony was a success. The topic met with interest in the media and in politics. This encouraged her to complete law school in order to be more effective in advocating women's rights. We were pleased to hear that she was elected from a number of candidates to represent her Congregation Saint Joseph on the subject of women and girls/ Human Rights issues for five years from mid-2014 at the UN in New York. The congregation (CONGREGATIONS OF ST. JOSEPH) consists of 11,000 sisters in 52 countries.

A small project of MISEREOR with great effect!  Click here to view Sr. Justine's testimony.

Written by Anna Dirksmeier (Donor)