Today is United Nations Day. It’s an important, really crucial day:
Sixty-eight years ago on this date, the Charter of the United Nations entered into force. Every year on United Nations Day, the General Assembly reaffirms its global mission to the universal values of tolerance, mutual respect and human dignity, and recognizes the progress States have made together. The UN Day Concert, in New York, is a traditional part of the celebrations, with similar events taking place around the world. The UN General Assembly proclaimed this day through its 1947 resolution 168.
Tolerance. Mutual Respect. International Solidarity.
IOGT and our member organizations fight poverty, fight for the eradication of poverty in many different ways: through global advocacy working for the achievement of the Millenium Development Goals and through community projects alike. Alcohol is a huge obstacle, though often overlooked, for achieving the MDGs. One of our member organisation, Forut in Norway, has published this report – based on their work and the experiences of their partner organizations in South-East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa: “Alcohol And Poverty. Some Connections”
IOGT International and our member organisations work heart-driven for making sure women live alcohol-free during pregnancies but more in general, through global advocacy as well as community-based prevention projects, we work for gender-equality and the empowerment of women, create safe and enabling environments, prevent communicable diseases like tuberculosis and HIV/ Aids as well as non-communicable diseases and we work to strengthen families.
The Secretary-General of the UN Ban Ki-moon talks about those UN values in a beautiful way: “This year again, we saw the United Nations come together on armed conflict, human rights, the environment and many other issues. We continue to show what collective action can do. We can do even more. In a world that is more connected, we must be more united. On United Nations Day, let us pledge to live up to our founding ideals and work together for peace, development and human rights. ”
Peace. Human Rights. Human Dignity.
IOGT International and our members, both on organizational and individual level, work heart-driven for promoting tolerance beyond borders. We have been an international and global movement for more than 160 years and it’s been part of the soul of our organisation to tear down walls of segragation, hatred, stereotypes an xenophobia and to build bridges between all the different cultures and countries, faiths and political convictions, socio-economic backgrounds and sexual inclinations.
We do this work through international seminars and training courses, through multicultural conferences and events and through our World Congress – to name a few examples. We foster exchange among our different member organisations, facilitating partnerships based on trust, mutual benefit and intercultural learning.
We’ve been honoured by being nominated for the Nobel Peace Price in 1951.
IOGT International and our members work heart-driven for the promotion of human rights. it can look very differently those efforts we make, depending on the region, country or local community we’re engaged in. For example in Cambodia our members have been working hard for ensuring and protecting the right to vote. In Kenya and Tanzania our members work for gender-equality.
Around the world we work for the rights of indigenous people and run projects to empower indigenous communities, protecting them from alcohol and other drugs and supporting them in finding ways to sustain their sacred lifestyles in a globalized world.
In Europe, I founded the Human Rights Generation campaign a couple of years ago. It’s a platform for young Europeans to creatively address Human Rights issues and advocate for innovative solutions.
We have looked at the impact of the economic crisis on the livelihoods of young Europeans and their rights in Europe.
We also looked for example at the reality of children and young people growing up with alcohol addicted parents.
Obviously, alcohol culture is violating many Human Rights and we’ve worked on preparing an overview: All Right? Youth Rights in Alcohol Culture
I like the quote by Ban Ki-moon. It’s beautiful to put it that way: in an increasingly connected world, humans and nations “must be more united.” There are obviously huge challenges and big problems left that we must face and that we must find solutions for. The United Nations have a leadership role play and IOGT International is committed to strengthen the UN, and its different agencies – like UN Women or WHO – because we believe in:
Democracy. Development. Freedom. Environmental Sustainability. Sustainable Development. And International Cooperation to achieve all that.
IOGT International and our member organizations, and individual members are working heart-driven for the rights and human dignity of regugees and have been doing so throughout the years. One example for that work was the devastating Tsunami that hit Sri Lanka among others and the response of IOGT in terms of helping refugees coming to Europe, sending donations and running projects on the ground to help refugees, support aid initiatives and eventually re-build.
Another example comes from our member organisations IOGT-NTO, UNF, NSF and Junis run a development agencies that cooperates and supports partners in East Africa to improve living conditions in huge refugee camps. They try heart-driven to prevent alcohol-harm and associated problems within the camps and to empower children, youth and women.
IOGT International and our members work heart-driven to ensure that all children have access to and actually get primary education. We do this through global advocacy for the rights of the child, as enshrined in the UN Convention on the rights of the Child. Alcohol and other drugs are huge obstacles and so are working to make sure decision-makers are aware and take this dimension into account.
Another example for concrete work on the ground comes from Guinea-Bissua and the IOGT work there. It’s IOGT Switzerland together with Forut Germany that support IOGT Guinea-Bissua in a fantastic way to run schools, empower teachers, and protect school pupils. They do this in a very hostile environment, in a failed state and often under great personal risk – but they do it because we believe that it’s the right thing to do, that also the children in a failed state like Guinea-Bissua deserve any chance they can get and that for them, too, a better future is attainable.