Season of Creation 2023

“Let Justice and Peace Flow” is the theme chosen for Season of Creation 2023 the ecumenical celebration held each year from September 1, World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, to October 4th, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. The prophet Amos cries out, “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness […]

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ERI Geneva Training

Twelve members of the Edmund Rice and Franciscans International networks participated in the June 2023 Geneva Training with the Edmund Rice International (ERI) Team. With participants from Peru, South Africa, India, Australia, Kenya, Ghana, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Philippines and USA, ERI team members from India, South Africa, Australia and Cormac McArt from Northern Ireland, […]

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ERI Active During 53rd session of UN Human Rights Council

ERI delivered a number of statements and co-sponsored several others during the recently concluded 53rd session of the Human Rights Council. Two statements were delivered in response to the report of the Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, the first by Fabian Adindu, from ERI partner VIVAT international, and the second by Taydren […]

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Promoting Social Justice and Advocacy in Edmund Rice Indian Schools

The Social Justice and Advocacy programme in the schools in the Indian Province was initiated almost a decade ago. While many of the animators have been working for over 5 years, there are also some who have recently joined. The group has a broad understanding of justice but a need was felt to develop the […]

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ERI’s Further Activity During the 52nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council

ERI has delivered a further eight statements at the recently concluded Human Rights Council session. (The eight statements previously made were reported on in the March newsletter). Again, due to the competition for the limited number of speaking slots available, some statements were delivered in time slots obtained by our partners. To view the recording of the statements, […]

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ERI Active During the 52nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council

ERI has delivered a number of statements during the current session of the UN Human Rights Council, and co-sponsored other statements delivered by our partners. Due to the competition for the limited number of speaking slots available, some statements were delivered in time slots obtained by our partners.

To view the recording of the statements, click on the name of the person delivering the statement below:-

Eddie Havlin, a homeless man from Belfast, spoke as part of the discussion of the report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing in a timeslot allocated to our partner Vivat International. In an encouraging development that demonstrate the potential impact of the statement, the Special Rapporteur made specific reference to the statement in his concluding remarks.

Brian Bond spoke on the human rights situation in Myanmar. Again the statement was delivered on behalf of partners who feared reprisals if they were identified.

Both Kevin Cawley and Terry Dowling delivered statements as part of the discussion of the report of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment

Kevin Mullan and Fabian Adindu delivered statements
as part of the discussion of the report of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Further statements are planned for later in the Council session which concludes on 4th April, and will be reported on in the April newsletter

‘Our Common Home’ – Vatican Book Launch

At a recent meeting of Catholic-inspired NGOs in Geneva with Cardinal Czerny who heads the Vatican Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, copies of the about too be released booklet Our Common Home – A guide to caring for our living planet’ were distributed

The booklet, a joint initiative of the Vatican with the Stockholm Environment Institiute connects climate change, biodiversity and sustainable resource use with the messages of Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ .

The booklet which explains how individuals and communities can take action to address the crisis we face can be downloaded here.

The Laudato Si Action Platform is another initiative of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development which is open to all people of good will and suggests practical actions that can be taken by individuals, families, communities and institutions to join together to act to care for our common home and each other.

Global Inequality is Escalating

The world’s top 1 percent grabbed nearly two-thirds of the $42 trillion in new wealth created since 2020, according to Oxfam in a report entitled “Survival of the Richest” which was released to coincide with the start of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The share was almost twice as much money as the amount obtained by the bottom 99 percent of the world’s population, according to the report.

Billionaire fortunes are increasing by $2.7bn a day, while at least 1.7 billion workers now live in countries where inflation is outpacing wages, the report said.

At the same time, half of the world’s billionaires live in countries with no inheritance tax for direct descendants, Oxfam said, putting them on track to pass on $5 trillion to their heirs, more than the gross domestic product (GDP) of Africa.

Oxfam said a 5 percent tax on the world’s multi-millionaires and billionaires could raise $1.7 trillion a year, enough to lift 2 billion people out of poverty.

Oxfam is calling for countries to introduce new taxes enabling them to invest much more in health and education – things that matter to everyone.

ERI Submissions for 41st UPR Session

A range of issues raised in ERI submissions for the UPR reviews of India, South Africa and the United Kingdom were the subject of recommendations put forward by reviewing states during the 41st session.

Issues related to the policy of the United Kingdom towards asylum seekers and refugees (a major focus of the joint ERI submission) were the subject of recommendations made by more than twenty countries. Unfortunately the issue of homelessness, the other major focus of the ERI submission, received limited attention.

The ERI joint submission with PRATYeK for the review of India addressed a wide range of issues, all of which were the subject of recommendations. Issues raised in the ERI submission included the need for climate action, access to education, water and sanitation, the abolition of the death penalty, child labour, food and nutrition, trafficking and domestic violence.

ERI’s joint submission for South Africa containedrecommendations relating to gender based violence (GBV), abuse and violence against children, human trafficking, xenophobia, disability and mental health. Almost all of these issues were raised in the review, with GBV, human trafficking and xenophobia particularly featuring prominently.

Documentation for the review of each country, including a list of recommendations can be found and downloaded here.

States will indicate their response to the recommendations made to them at or before the next Human Rights Council session in March.

COP 27 – A Decisive Moment in Addressing the Threat of Climate Change

The past eight years are on track to be the eight warmest on record, fuelled by ever-rising greenhouse gas concentrations and accumulated heat. Extreme heatwaves, drought and devastating flooding have affected millions and cost billions this year, according to the World Meteorological Organization’s provisional State of the Global Climate in 2022 report released at the start of the COP 27 meeting in Egypt.

In his opening address to the conference, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned that humanity faces a stark choice between working together or “collective suicide” in the battle against global warming while urging richer polluting nations to come to the aid of poorer countries least responsible for the emission of heat-trapping gases.

“Greenhouse gas emissions keep growing. Global temperatures keep rising. And our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible,” he said. “We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator.”

The UN chief asked countries to agree to phase out the use of coal, one of the most carbon-intense fuels, by 2040 globally, with members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) hitting that mark by 2030.

in a report to the UN General Assembly in October Ian Fry, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change stated that ‘Human-induced climate change is the largest, most pervasive threat to the natural environment and societies the world has ever experienced, and the poorest countries are paying the heaviest price’

“Throughout the world, human rights are being negatively impacted and violated as a consequence of climate change. This includes the right to life, health, food, development, self-determination, water and sanitation, work, adequate housing and freedom from violence, sexual exploitation, trafficking and slavery,” he said.

“There is an enormous injustice being manifested by developed economies against the poorest and least able to cope. Inaction by developed economies and major corporations to take responsibility for drastically reducing their greenhouse gas emissions has led to demands for ‘climate reparations’ for losses incurred. The G20 members for instance, account for 78 per cent of emissions over the last decade.”

Radio Broadcasts – Life Lessons with Edmund Rice

Ann Nichols from Edmund Rice England has shared the following message ‘We are delighted that this half term, our Edmund Rice Schools, both at home and abroad will have the opportunity to broadcast live each week on Radio Maria England. In a series of slots called ‘Life Lessons with Edmund Rice’, schools will be sharing their social justice and earth justice network activities with the radio audience to illustrate what is special about being one of Edmund’s people today, how in our schools our Charism is being lived out and talking about how our students are showing the courage and compassion of our founder in living lives of love and service. You can hear from schools live each Friday at 9.30 am on Radio Maria and a repeat airing Fridays and Sundays at 3.20pm. The podcasts will be available from this link:’

ERI Participation in 51st Session of Human Rights Council

ERI made a number of statements during the 51st Session of the UN Human Rights Council and co-sponsored several others delivered by our partners.

The statements included:-
A statement on behalf of PRATYeK India during the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Water and Sanitation
A statement on behalf of the Justice Desk on gender-based violence in South Africa during the General Debate
A statement regarding violence against children in Peru during the General Debate
A statement on behalf of several of our partners regarding the situation in Myanmar as part of the Interactive Dialogue rin response to the report of the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR)
A statement on behalf of PRATYeK India during the Interactive Dialogue with the Expert Mechanism on the Right to Development
A statement on the human rights situation in Nigeria delivered by the International Catholic Migration Commission and endorsed by ERI through the Presentation Brothers who are present in Nigeria.

Season of Creation 2022

The Season of Creation is a time to renew our relationship with our Creator and all creation through celebration, conversion, and commitment together. During the Season of Creation, we join our sisters and brothers in the ecumenical family in prayer and action for our common home.

Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I proclaimed 1 September as a day of prayer for creation for the Orthodox in 1989. In fact, the Orthodox church year starts on that day with a commemoration of how God created the world.

The World Council of Churches was instrumental in making the special time a season, extending the celebration from 1 September until 4 October.

Following the leadership of Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I and the WCC, Christians worldwide have embraced the season as part of their annual calendar. Pope Francis made the Roman Catholic Church’s warm welcoming of the season official in 2015.

In recent years, statements from religious leaders around the world have also encouraged the faithful to take time to care for creation during the month-long celebration.

The season starts 1 September, the Day of Prayer for Creation, and ends 4 October, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology beloved by many Christian denominations.

Throughout the month-long celebration, the world’s 2.2 billion Christians come together to care for our common home.

ERI Activity in 50th Session of UN Human Rights Council

ERI delivered six statements during the 50th Session of the UN Human Rights Council. Five of the statements were read by participants in the recent ERI training course in Geneva and were in response to the report delivered to the Council by a UN Special Rapporteurs.

The statements included:-
– a statement in response to the report of the Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, relating to the use of child labour by Nestlé, read by Patrick Nuanah cfc
– a statement in response to the report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, on inequality in access to online education read by Sarah Mulanda
– a statement in response to the report of the Special Rapporteur on Climate Change, on financing mitigation of the impact of climate change read by Grace David
– a statement in response to the report of the Special Rapporteur on Migrants, on the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK read by Patricia Gray
– a statement in response to the report of the Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty, relating to homelessness in Northern Ireland read by John Mark fpm

An additional statement on the outcome of the UPR of Haiti was read by our intern Zak Gainey.

ERI Internship Program Resumes – Welcome Zak Gainey

With the easing  of Covid restrictions at the UN, ERI has resumed its volunteer Internship program. Zak Gainey from the UK commenced at the start of this month, and he will be joined later in the month by Katy Shenton also from the UK. A further four interns from Australia (2), South Africa and Northern Ireland have also had their applications approved and will look to take up their placements in 2023.

Zak Gainey offered the following information on his background and his hopes for his internship. 

‘My name is Zak Gainey and I’m from Liverpool in England. I am currently a second year modern history and divinity undergraduate student at the University of St Andrews.  After university I hope to work in Human Rights, either in the political or legal realm. 

Before University I attended St Anselm’s Catholic College in Birkenhead, and it is here where I was first introduced to the life and teachings of Edmund RIce and the wider Network. I have been a part of the Edmund Rice Network since 2018. As part of the Network, I have been involved in two Edmund Rice Camps and I have been fortunate enough to travel to Belfast, Geneva and Sierra Leone.

I am very passionate about a variety of social justice and human rights issues, but I am especially interested in education and guaranteeing that women have equal access to education. 

Outside of the world of human rights, I am also interested in journalism and travel, and in pursuit of these passions I have written several travel articles for a university magazine. I hope that this internship will enhance my understanding of the nature of global politics and human rights and allow me to give back to the Edmund Rice Network.’