UNESCO Series of Regional Expert Consultations against Gender Stereotypes. 2nd edition: Asia-pacific region

First of all, thank you all for joining us: Tim, who is partnering with us to advance our agenda against stereotypes, but also Ashwin, Elsa Marie, Nathalie and Nani.

The whole month of January, we are bringing leaders from all regions to reflect on the progress made in the gender equality agenda but also in areas that seem difficult to tackle, such as stereotyping, gender and cultural norms that reflect themselves in institutional and legal frameworks which continue to produce unequal outcomes.

In this second year of the pandemic, we can easily say that the crisis has had a terrible impact on the world and on women and girls who were disproportionally affected by its many impacts. While some governments were better prepared to handle the impact of the pandemic, others were not.

We have seen the horrific rise of domestic violence everywhere with increases from 20 to 77% in certain places.

We have witnessed women all around the world becoming the main caretakers of their tele-schooled children, spouses and ill relatives; and starting working two full-time jobs when juggling their careers and domestic chores.

We have checked and double-checked numbers. Unlike past crises, this one targets sectors in which women are overwhelmingly represented, highly underpaid and threatens their vulnerable livelihoods in the informal economy.

Did you know that the US Labor Release for December confirmed that job losses were much higher for women than men in the US? 4.4 million jobs were lost for men and 5.4 for women which shows that women are more affected. According to UN Women, the informal job losses for women in these sectors range from 25 to 56 % in Asia and the Pacific!

I would like to underlined that the pandemic did not create these inequalities. It deepened them and exploited them but these flaws and injustices existed long before COVID-19.

Before the pandemic, according to UNFPA, in countries across Asia and the Pacific, surveys indicate that 68% of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence at the hands of an intimate partner. During the pandemic, this figure increased largely!

In India, between March and May 2020, more complaints of domestic violence were recorded than those received between March and May in the previous 10 years. Nandida Das, the Indian Actress and Jury member of UNESCO’s Madanjeet Singh Prize, reflected this in her short movie “Talk to Her” which reached 300,000 views only days after its release.

In Nepal, domestic violence increased by 77% after the lockdown compared to the period before it.

Nurses and activists in Sri Lanka urged the government to create more helplines for victims of domestic abuse during the lockdown.

Fiji’s national domestic violence helpline recorded a significant increase in calls in April (around 527 calls), compared to 87 in February and 187 in March.

In the beginning of the pandemic, there were 15 million additional cases of violence against women worldwide for every additional three months of lockdown. Online harassment against women is not part of these cases: statistics on the prevalence of cyber harassment against women during the pandemic indicates rates as high as 40% in some countries in Asia and the Pacific.

Violence against women and girls is structural and reinforced by norms and stereotypes that foster inequalities and tell little girls that they are not good enough.

Together we can engage the world to reflect on our inherited biases and update our mindsets. We all have the potential to become proactive agents of change for a better world and from the earliest age.

At home and in the workplace, women’s contributions deserve more recognition. Gender-diverse workplaces and gender-inclusive management are proven to boost the profit of companies – and therefore the GDP of their countries and the well-being of their employees.

This is the context in which we are, and we call to have whole-of-society approaches to look at legal frameworks, inclusive policies, benchmarks, affirmative action, public and private sector synergies and incentives.

We are going to bring all this together because we want to hear from you: what works? and what do you think could be replicated? What can help us in terms of instruments and inventions for delivering better?

At UNESCO, we are developing ground-breaking projects, spanning from the Men4GenderEquality initiative to Master Classes against racism and discrimination and the intercultural competencies framework, to a Recommendation on the Ethics of artificial intelligence which will be the first global standard-setting instrument to address the ethical and social issues related to discrimination, including gender biases and stereotyping, and the establishment of a global Observatory on Women and Sports.

But if we don’t change mindsets, cultural norms and stereotypes, there will be no progress.

That is why UNESCO is developing a flagship programme to change mindsets against harmful gender stereotypes. We are going to examine and eliminate the origins and consequences of these stereotypes so that they no longer hold sway over our lives and successes, so that they no longer restrict our freedoms, identities, and opportunities, or even hurt our economies.

Last year, on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, UNESCO organized a high-level roundtable with messages from renowned leaders. That day, I launched a powerful call for action to Member States to scale up their efforts to eliminate violence against women and take solid and sustainable commitments.

I renew that Call today by asking you how do we advance a real agenda to counter these harmful stereotypes and cultural norms, and create a wide network of role models and leaders paving the way in the business and private sector, the public sector and with civil society?

We will consult with you and keep you posted on the progress.

I hope that this is the beginning of a wonderful partnership to advance better for women.

Thank you for joining us!

UNESCO Series of Regional Expert Consultations against Gender Stereotypes. 1st edition: North American region


Distinguished panelists,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the first edition of UNESCOs Series of Regional Expert Consultations against Gender Stereotypes.

Regional editions will take place every Monday and Thursday in January to allow UNESCO to pick the brains of prominent academics, leaders and activists across the world on the crucial matters of gender-based violence, discrimination, social norms and harmful gender stereotypes.

Today, the series will focus on North America.

Since its creation, UNESCO has sought to create peace in the minds of men and women. It is a guiding thread throughout all programmes of the Organization and the reason why gender equality was established as a global priority in 2008 – for there can be no peace without justice and equality for all.

This is not an easy task!

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the impact that discrimination and violence have in our societies, when the most disadvantaged groups were disproportionally affected by the pandemic and its economic impact.

The pandemic also posed a serious threat to women’s employment and livelihoods as it deepened pre-existing inequalities, and exposed cracks in social, political and economic systems. From access to health services, social protection and digital technologies, to unpaid care work, the impacts of COVID-19 were exacerbated for many women and girls, especially women with caring responsibilities and female informal workers who are among the hardest hit. At hospitals, women make up 72% of the healthcare workforce, and are overrepresented in “essential” jobs that prevent our societies and economies from collapsing.

One of the first reports underscoring women’s uneven burden was the one I produced at the OECD in early 2020 before joining UNESCO.

Since then, according to UN Women, only 4,7% of the 1,813 impressive measures taken worldwide to address the crisis reinforce women’s economic security. Merely 6% tackle unpaid care work, which women perform 3.2 times more time than men.

A recent report commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also found that, in addition to making up 93% of COVID-19 response decision-making bodies, “men were quoted more than four times more frequently than women” in COVID-19 related stories in the USA.

Prime Minister Trudeau said: “we know the societies by the way they treat their women”.

It turns out that women are overburdened and burned out, underpaid and underappreciated, and they keep seeing their needs and expertise ignored.

Also, in times of quarantine and social isolation, women are more exposed to domestic abuse and violence as they find themselves confined with their abusers. Domestic violence rose at alarming rates across the globe, increasing up to 35% for instance in South Carolina. In Canada, studies showed that fear, stigma and xenophobia placed marginalized and indigenous women at increased risk of violence. In some parts of the world, there was an upsurge of 70% in domestic violence according to UN Women.

These unfair trials and threats emphasized by the pandemic followed us through this new year, but it would be naive to think that they are new.

Unfairness, inequalities, discrimination and violence all sprout and bloom from prejudices and biases deeply rooted in our societies and mindsets.

Whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches, legal frameworks, effective and transformative policies, benchmarks, affirmative action, public and private sector synergies and incentives, are necessary to uproot them once and for all.

Of course, over the past century, much has changed for women and girls. At the beginning of the 20th century in Canada and the USA, women were second-class citizens.

Before the 1920s, they could not vote.

Before the 1960s, they could not obtain a law degree.

Before the 1970s, they could not open a bank account on their own.

Marital rape only became a crime in 1983 in Canada, and recognized unconstitutional in all American states in 1993.

Thanks to suffragettes, then second-wave feminists, then Black and indigenous and intersectional feminists over the past 100 years and more, legislation has evolved to promote gender equality, secure sexual and reproductive health and rights, LGBTI+ rights, to foster girls’ education and include women’s voices and organizations in leadership position, and even to expand the definition of discrimination to include an intersectional analysis in the 1990s.

Despite this undeniable progress in legal frameworks with innovative measures to overcome obstacles in the path of women’s and girls’ empowerment, countless inequalities remain.

A blatant example is that of the gender pay gap:

Canadian women earn 13,3% less on average than their male counterparts.

In the USA in 2018, women earned 82 cents for every dollar earn by men. The wage gap deepens for women of color: Black women earned 62 cents for every dollar earned by a man, Native Americans 57 cents and Latinas 54 cents.

Why is that?

It is because biased mindsets, cultural norms and stereotypes tell little girls that they are not good enough.

Not good enough, for instance, to study STEM – a field known for its growing lucrative opportunities.

Or not good enough to apply to job positions unless they check all the qualifications – unlike men who often apply regardless.

These mindsets prevent companies from hiring women as managers, even though gender-diverse leadership improves innovation and profits.

They prevent voters from electing women, even though women ministers and heads of states were praised globally last year for their handling of the pandemic.

These prejudices are the reasons why we are stuck in a world of unresolved inequalities – and it is time to move past them.

The purpose of this series of consultations is precisely to go more granular and to identify how to finally end these stereotypes, which are harmful for both women and men, and to change mindsets – what works and what does not.

UNESCO is developing a strong and impactful Flagship Programme that will both examine and eliminate the origins and consequences of harmful gender stereotypes so that they no longer hold sway over our lives and successes – but not only. In addition to restricting our freedoms, identities and opportunities, stereotypes also hurt economies.

According to a study conducted by Promundo, masculine stereotypes to “act tough” or “man up” slow down innovation and cost up to over 15 billion USD each year.

Whether from a human rights perspective or an economic one, continuing to uphold gender stereotypes does not make sense.

It is time to boost women’s and girls’ self-esteem, confidence and leadership skills; to encourage men to engage in caregiving and protect themselves from risk-taking behaviors; to change how young girls and boys are socialized from an early age.

Gender stereotypes create unattainable and dangerous standards for all of us, and it is time to ditch them.

In undertaking these challenges, we are not without allies.

I have seen first-hand the firm commitment of our partners and networks to foster change and accountability.

Together with UNESCO Chairs, inclusive cities, sports organizations, youth leaders, scientists and key experts, we are developing awareness-raising, capacity-building and groundbreaking research and projects, spanning from the Men4GenderEquality initiative to Master Classes against racism and discrimination and the intercultural competencies framework, to a Recommendation on the Ethics of artificial intelligence which will be the first global standard-setting instrument to address the ethical and social issues related to discrimination, including gender biases and stereotyping, and the establishment of a global Observatory on Women and Sports.

Last year, on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, UNESCO organized a high-level roundtable with messages from renowned leaders. That day, I launched a powerful call for action to Member States to scale up their efforts to eliminate violence against women and take solid and sustainable commitments.

I renew that Call today by asking you to support UNESCO in this task, and join a wide network of role models and leaders paving the way against harmful gender stereotypes and norms.

In the business world, although the larger the company, the less likely its CEO is a woman. In 2020, the number of women running the largest corporations in the USA hit a new high with now 37 of the companies in Fortune 500 led by women CEOs. In Canada, none of its TSX 60 companies in 2018 were headed by a woman and two-thirds did not include a single woman among top earners. This is just another example of the typical “broken rung” that prevents women from accessing managerial positions.

I trust that with detailed and thorough analyses of the issues at hand, of the solutions that work – where, why and how? –, with high-quality benchmarks and methodologies, and by working collectively at addressing the data gaps and raising awareness, we will advance concrete knowledge and understanding on the harms of gender stereotypes. We will promote sound and science-informed decision-making.

Not investing in gender equality during this global health crisis will have detrimental economic, social, cultural, political and environmental consequences and will significantly slow down progress in the achievement of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Beijing Platform for Action.

We still have a long road ahead of us, but I am optimistic, and I will tell you why:

In 1966, Roberta Gibb became the first female finisher of the Boston Marathon. Not allowed to run, she jumped from the bushes at the start of the race to participate. At the time, athletics officials believed women incapable of running more than a mile and a half – she proved them wrong and finished.

Katherine Switzer, a year later, registered officially using her initials instead of her full name and also finished despite attempts to remove her. 50 years later, in 2017, she ran it again, at the age of 70, this time alongside 12,000 other women.

UNESCO looks forward to the valuable insights and perspectives of our distinguished experts, and we are hopeful that they will help us take confident and necessary steps towards creating more equal and inclusive societies.

Thank you.

“Transforming mentalities: engaging men and boys to address the root causes of violence against women” High-level Roundtable, on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Distinguished speakers,

Honorable participants,

Welcome to this high-level roundtable on “Transforming mentalities: Engaging men and boys to address the root causes of violence against women.” I want to thank our dear Ambassadors friends of gender equality, and the Co-Chairs, the Ambassador from Iceland and from Oman. Welcome to the many speakers that join us today, infatigable champions in this battle. I also want to welcome our wonderful speakers, who have been championing this cause.

It is emblematic that one of the last events I held in presence last March was exactly to launch an Action Plan to end violence against women. At that occasion, we invited two survivors to share their experiences with us. Charlote kneer, a woman who endured violence for more than 10 years, and that when she found herself capable of killing her husband, she better left home and founded an NGO to help other women. We also heard Luke Heart, a young man campaigning against violence, after witnessing her mom dying in the hands of his dad. No human being should have this kind of experience!

I was already shocked at that time and we put together a meaningful agenda to increase the visibility of this problem and to take action.

Who would have told us, that 8 months later, today, we will be meeting to confront the harsh reality of a significant increase of this evil due to the pandemic? 30, 40 or even 50% increase in many countries? Who would have told us that the Secretary General of the UN would have called it the “other pandemic”?

The answer is simple. The COVID 19 magnified our vulnerabilities, our fragilities and violence against women is one of the worst expressions of what is wrong in our societies.  Hopefully, as with many other lessons, will also provide us with the opportunity to put an end as we build forward better.

The task is not easy. The worst of this problem is not the suffering it brings to people, or even its economic cost that is valued on the billions worldwide, as promundo has shown. The worst is that it is condoned, it is accepted, and even a large share of women justify when their husbands exert violence against them!

Our societies justify aggression. At the end, “boys will be boys”.

This is the only case where violence is minimized as a normal state of affairs, and institutions and legal frameworks seem unable to put an end.

This tolerance to violence, is also linked to the gender stereotyping, that reproduce dominant ideas and representations of what is considered appropriate behaviors and attributes for men. When boys are educated to be tough, to exert dominance, competitiveness, we should not be surprised that the finest expression of this education is violence against their own family.  

This is not only incredibly harmful to women and girls – it is also to men and boys. It is the reverse of the kind of stereotypes that tell our girls not to be self-sufficient or outspoken.

Promundo, whose Founder and CEO is with us today, estimates that if a social change occurs within societies and the current set of pre-existing harmful norms of masculinity was eliminated, then sexual violence could be reduced by at least 69%, and bullying and violence against women by 40% every year.

Therefore, to turn the story around, we should also change men’s mindset.  Men actually can become a powerful catalysts of change, by rejecting these harmful role-models, and play a positive role models to their peers and especially to younger generations. They can contribute to change the narrative of abuse and violence. They can publicly refuse to endorse or condone the harmful behaviors and attitudes that lead to violence against women and girls.

By changing this mindset, we will be contributing to the broader strategy to build more peaceful world. This is UNESCO’s core, and peaceful worlds start at home. Starts at school and in the textbooks when they are gender neutral. And when our institutions and legal frameworks deliver for good in all cases.  When incentives, and all stakeholders reject violence.

In UNESCO where gender is a global priority, we will be working on this fighting stereotyping for both, and to end discrimination and racism. We are also doing through the recommendation of ethics of artificial intelligence.

My question to you now is: What should we do to ensure the full success of our efforts to engage men and boys, transform mentalities and foster long-lasting change?

I am looking forward to your answers.

European Coalition of Cities Against Racism (ECCAR) General Conference 2020

Mayor Virgilio Merola,

Mr Benedetto Zacchiroli,

Distinguished representatives of European cities,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my privilege to welcome you to the 2020 General Conference of the European Coalition of Cities Against Racism. I am honoured to represent UNESCO in a Sector that is the contact point for inclusive cities, who are at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic.

I was equally pleased to recently meet the President of ECCAR, and I look forward to establishing a strong cooperation with him and this coalition. Since my arrival in July in UNESCO, I was looking forward to meet you. Actually, I was before at the OECD, and it was your network that inspired the Champion Mayors for Inclusive Growth.

The time could not be more complex, but where cities have a really important tole to play. Many of your members  have adopted measures to fight the pandemic and protect the most vulnerable populations.

We see global reports on COVID, but it is you who are in the frontline, and I want to commend this effort. I hope we will be able to overcome this dark period together,  with its immense human, social and economic cost.

 I particularly commend the efforts of the inclusive cities which have prioritized anti-discriminatory and antiracist actions against vulnerable groups, and efficiently dealt with homelessness, migrants, segregation, despair and shelters for battered women. Keep up this work!

In the context of increased discrimination, UNESCO is being called by its members to upgrade its actions in this domain. Thus, we were pleased to find that the European Union recently launched its anti-racism action plan for 2020-2025, aiming at increasing the number of countries with dedicated national plans that stands at only 15 from the 27 members. Let’s join forces in this endeavour. We should work in tandem  and develop a common action plan, that will bring the EU, UNESCO and ECCAR together to fight this challenge.

According to the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, the issue of racism and discriminations across Europe is extreme in magnitude and scope. The proliferation of racist actions against people of African descent has reached as high as 14% annually across the European Union. The Agency also reported that discrimination related to anti-gypsyism has seen a 50% increase in the educational segregation of Roma children as recorded between 2015 to 2020. Regarding antisemitism, 39% of those surveyed have experienced some form of harassment. And the same regarding islam.

But not only that, even in Europe, Violence against women is rapidly escalating! The 30% increase in reports of domestic violence in the European Union during the lockdown highlights how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these already adverse conditions. There is an urgent need to strengthen existing measures, including the creation of more shelters and integrated centers as well as improvement in the training and preparation of police forces and social workers. With your help, I would like to organize a landmark event in 2021 that features the work of mayors to eliminate violence against women and girls. We need to recognize the problem, but we also need to energize ourselves with best practices from the continent.

The pandemic also came with disproportionate economic and social impacts. According to ILO, people living under the minimum wage in some European countries reported that 70% of them had a family member who lost their job compared to less than half for more affluent families.

Moreover, the European Network Against Racism shows that although there is an over-representation of more than 30 % of immigrants in COVID related incidences, the barriers to access health care and basic services are multiplying. While the pandemic has devastated the world, it has also presented us with an opportunity to address the social ills that the crisis has unveiled.

At the Social and Human Science sector I am overseeing, we are strengthening our work to deliver for inclusive societies and economies.

Since its creation, UNESCO promotes the values of diversity, tolerance and dialogue by fighting social inequalities through targeted initiatives. UNESCO is elaborating a Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, the first global standard-setting instrument to address ethical and social issues related to discrimination, including gender biases.

We are at the core of the promotion of gender equality, including in AI, but in protecting legal equality and benchmarks. But we also have targeted initiatives to empowerment through sports and quality physical education. We will soon establish a global Observatory for Women, Physical Education and Sport. We have also joined the UN Women led Sports for Generation Equality initiative to make gender equality a reality in and through sport. 

UNESCO has been called upon by its Member States to scale up our work in the fight against racism and discriminations. In my new responsibility as UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences, I am strongly committed to doing so in collaboration with ECCAR.

Some of you joined the UNESCO webinar series “Inclusion in the time of COVID-19” and highlighted the importance of addressing the social dimension through local policy interventions during the crisis. We also organized six Regional Expert Consultations which unpacked the societal challenges of COVID-19, resulting in a set of concrete recommendations that will guide UNESCO’s work.

We will develop a roadmap which includes as assessment to strengthen institutional and legal frameworks for anti-racism, affirmative actions in public and private sectors and anti-biases training, such as the intercultural competencies trainings and the Master Classes against Racism and Discriminations. A very successful and innovative edition was recently organized in Heidelberg, and other editions are foreseen in 2021 in Lausanne, Toulouse, Brussels and Liège.

I also commend the efforts of ECCAR through the City of Graz in Austria who partnered with UNESCO and the Arab Coalition of Cities to develop the Toolkit for Urban Inclusion. We will continue to broker for you in order to reach out to other cities.

Another significant platform for international collaboration is the recently concluded World Human Rights Cities Forum hosted by the South Korean City of Gwangju, which welcomed around 2,800 participants from 253 cities representing 76 countries. Four coalitions reviewed their Action Plans during this Forum by affirming their renewed commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals and Habitat III’s Urban Agenda.

The City of Gwangju offers an excellent opportunity for partnership with ECCAR, and we should leverage and encourage collaboration with other coalitions who want to work with us. It is only through collaboration and solidarity that our vision to end racism and discriminations once and for all can come to its full realization.

We look forward to many more years of fruitful partnership! Let’s join forces to deliver on the higher goals that bring us together.

Master Class on Tolerance

Mr Vishal V. Sharma, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of India to UNESCO,

Ms France Marquet, Principal Trustee of the Madanjeet Singh Foundation,

Distinguished laureates of the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-violence,

Dear students,

It is my great privilege to open this Master Class on Tolerance, which is held in celebration of International Day of Tolerance and of the 2020 edition of the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-violence.

Today’s session highlights the significance of the values of tolerance and pluralism, which are among UNESCO’s core values, in addressing the various contemporary global challenges and in fighting against social ills such as racism and discriminations. This is something you have joined us to fight for and I think that this fight is all the more important in the current times. We see the increase in racism, we see the increase in discrimination, we see that the current crisis is affecting groups of people so differently and therefore we need to raise our voices in a powerful way because only you can help UNESCO deliver on this.

Let me express my gratitude to the Madanjeet Singh Foundation. I also wish to thank the former and current Laureates of the Prize and of course you, the young advocates for tolerance, who have joined us from all around the world. We at UNESCO engage youth in many activities, we believe that they are not only the future of mankind, but they are also agents of change and that is why we need to invest in them. Within the current context of the pandemic, the role of youths has become increasingly evident in addressing the adverse effect of the health crisis as we can see from the various stories of youth-led responses around the world.

 We know also that youths are among the most adversely impacted by the crisis in facing the harsh realities of discrimination and intolerance in their everyday lives, noting significant challenges in access to civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights. Because of this, we know that youths are at risk of shouldering much of the long-term economic and social consequences of the crisis, leading to a decrease in well-being and intergenerational inequalities.

But you also have the power! You are among 1.2 billion young people  in the world, representing 16% of the global population. 70% of youth are active in online spaces worldwide. Youth have the means to reverse what UNESCO characterizes as the disinfodemic associated with the coronavirus pandemic which has contributed to hate speech, socio-political polarization and an gigantic increase in acts of violence against women and girls. This must come to an end!

We need to involve young men in combatting violence against women and girls. I know that the younger generation is less prone to reproduce these ills. During the pandemic, our societies have also been exposed to the increase in violence against women, increase in the risk of girls not going back to school and marrying younger and having their chances for life just curtailed because they were girls and therefore, we count on youth to build our antibodies against these ills. We need to involve youth in building resilience, and collaborate with the governments on its efforts to anticipate the impact and mitigation and recovery measures across different age groups, by applying effective mechanisms.

Let us strive to exemplify the value of tolerance in our lives through words and actions. Together, we can impart this message to all those around us – so that not only today, but every day shall we celebrate diversity and treat others with dignity and respect.

I am very proud to have you all around this table, and today is a day where in a conference in London, the founding fathers launched UNESCO. I think that it is a great occasion to remember that this institution, along with all of you as our partners, is here to protect and promote human rights and human dignity, as well as to promote tolerance and harmonious living together amongst all the communities in the world.

Thank you. I wish you a meaningful and enlightening session.

Curso Internacional de Derechos Humanos: Monitoreo, Documentación e Investigación en Derechos Humanos

Para la UNESCO es un privilegio apoyar esta cuarta edición del Curso Internacional de Derechos Humanos organizado por nuestro Centro Categoría 2, el Centro Internacional para la promoción de los Derechos Humanos –CIPDH, basado en Argentina. Gracias su directora, Patricia Tappata y todo su equipo.

Un gusto que nos acompañen los Ministerios que han sido campeones en este esfuerzo, tanto del Ministerio de Justicia y derechos humanos, con la Ministra, de Relaciones exteriores, y los miembros del Consejo del Centro. Saludo a la fiscalía de la corte penal internacional y el enfoque de genero, tan necesario en el momento actual, ya que el COVID no solo nos remarca las brechas en tantos ámbitos, sino que nos recuerda que las mujeres todavía no pueden ni asegurar su integridad física con la violencia rampante. Por ello, este curso es importantisimo.

Este Centro es una maravillosa joya para la UNESCO. Como dijo Patricia es el primer Centro Categoría 2 que creamos especializado en derechos humanos, y es el único bajo el sector de Ciencias Sociales y Humanas en América Latina y el Caribe.

Aprovecho para agradecer y felicitar a la Argentina por su apoyo al Centro. Esto habla muy bien del compromiso del país con los derechos humanos, y su liderazgo para que este tema se mantenga vivo en la agenda internacional. La memoria, la experiencia han apoyado este esfuerzo, pero también la mirada a futuro.

Confiamos en que conjuntamente seguiremos fortaleciendo el Centro y consolidando sus iniciativas, y este curso es un buen ejemplo, que van en el camino correcto de promover y profundizar los derechos humanos.

Me da mucha alegría que este curso inicie precisamente hoy que es un día muy especial para la UNESCO. Un 16 de noviembre, pero de 1945, se firmaba, en Londres, el acuerdo que permitió el nacimiento oficial de la UNESCO.

Desde su nacimiento, los derechos humanos han estado en el corazón de nuestro mandato. Precisamente su fundación se daba con el firme propósito de afianzar la “solidaridad intelectual y moral de la humanidad” y buscar el respeto de la dignidad de las personas.

La UNESCO sigue siendo una apuesta por los seres humanos, por el conocimiento, por el aprendizaje. Y precisamente este curso, que empezamos hoy, es un espacio para aprender, intercambiar conocimiento, y para poner la dignidad de las personas en el centro de las prioridades.

Vivimos momentos donde persisten graves violaciones de derechos humanos en diferentes partes del mundo. Discursos racistas y xenofóbicos, violencia de género, ataques contra pueblos originarios, daños al medio ambiente, y una desproporcionada impunidad.

Pero también un mundo en donde demasiados grupos y países se están quedando atrás. Un mundo en donde el código postal de nuestro nacimiento, y la familia de origen establecen nuestras posibilidades de vida. Por ello, los derechos humanos entendidos en su globalidad, incluyendo lo social y lo economico. Y muchos otros derechos que la

UNESCO defiende, con libertad de expresión, de conciencia, de acceso a la ciencia.

Me complace que a lo largo de estas dos semanas se profundice en la documentación e investigación en derechos humanos, con un grupo tan diverso y multidisciplinario, para tocar todos estos temas. Necesitamos fortalecer las metodologías de investigación, impulsar indicadores de medición más robustos, y tener mejores políticas y decisiones judiciales en derechos humanos basadas en evidencia. Necesitamos seguir haciendo ruido. Nuestro progreso no esta ganado por siempre! Un paso adelante y quizá muchos para atrás. Por eso este esfuerzo es tan importante. No podemos bajar la guardia!

Desde UNESCO esperamos que este curso nos ayude a profundizar conocimientos, pero sobre todo que nos ayude a buscar estrategias de acción para superar los retos pendientes.

Cada uno de los que está acá juega un rol en la defensa y garantía de los derechos humanos. Confiamos en que los participantes terminarán el curso con más herramientas que puedan poner en práctica en sus propios contextos.

Felicitaciones de nuevo al CIPDH y gracias a todos ustedes por acompañarnos.

“Racial and economic justice in Covid recovery: Building on the movement for Black Lives” – Paris Peace Forum

Clear action against racism and discrimination is needed: scanning of discriminatory laws and institutions, affirmative action and anti-biase training… Check out this article on the Paris Peace Forum session on this topic, in which I had the opportunity to participate among incredible panelists.

Paris Peace Forum: What now for Black Lives Matter post-Covid?

As heads of state gathered for the third Paris Peace Forum to discuss what the Covid-19 recovery should look like, experts went online to give their input on how to build back better, taking inspiration from the Black Lives Matter movement.