May 2017

The international Day of UN Peacekeepers

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A teaspoon of history

On the 29th May 1948 the first UN peacekeeping mission named the “United Nations Truce Supervision Organization”, or UNTSO, began operations in Palestine to observe and maintain the ceasefire, which marked the end of the hostilities between Israel and the Arab League forces.

For this reason, in 2002, the UN General assembly designated May 29 as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, to tribute the UN peacekeepers who are working today and to honour the ones who had lost their lives serving the UN flag.

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet” (W. Shakespeare)

As Shakespeare taught us, the names of things do not affect what they really are, but at his time United Nations had not been founded yet! Only from the name of Peace-keepers you can understand their main mission: the maintenance of peace and security! They are men and women like you and me that have invested their life to create the conditions for a lasting peace.

Beneath the helmet

** FILE ** In this Friday, March 14, 2008 file photo released by Albany Associates, a Nigerian soldier with the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) stands guard at a checkpoint to the Mission's Western Sector headquarters, on the outskirts of the state capital of West Darfur, El Geneina, Sudan. Security was hiked around many embassies in Sudan, and some diplomats and aid workers stayed home amid fears of retaliation after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant Wednesday, March 4, 2009 for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. (AP Photo/Albany Associates, Stuart Price, File) ** EDITORIAL USE ONLY, NO SALES **

Today, the Blue Helmets or the Blue Berets refer to 113,000 military, police and civilian personnel in 16 peacekeeping operations on four continents. Beneath the Blue Helmets there is professionalism, dedication, courage and strong commitment to protect populations against threats and contribute to a secure environment. But these virtues are not always enough, more than 3,500 peacekeepers have lost their lives serving under the UN flag since 1948, including 117 last year.

It’s for the UN peacekeepers,

for the victims of war and human rights violations,

and for those who live in a peaceful and democratic environment and don’t want to lose it,

that we have to remember that all the efforts done by peacekeeping missions over time are fundamental investments in building peace and that the UN flag is much more than a symbol. United Nations have been built on globally important purposes, such as international cooperation, non-violence, equality and self-determination of peoples.

23/05/2017: martial law imposition in the Philippines

Usually, martial law in a country is declared by the Head of State who decides to put some areas or the entire nation under direct control of the National Armed Forces. Traditionally, the imposition of such law encompasses, among other things, curfew and the suspension of the National Civil Code, all the civil rights and human rights in general. The most widespread violation is related to the principle of “habeas corpus” that, establishing the illegality of arbitrary detention from a State, is absolutely ignored considered the only existence of military tribunals and martial courts.

On May 23rd, the President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, has imposed martial law in Mindanao because of the violence escalation in Marawi City, a zone under Group Maute’s control. This Group was founded by Abdullah and Omar Maute in 2013, it is a jihadist movement and it declared its affiliation to ISIS in 2016. Duterte’s declaration came from Moscow, where he has added that, even though martial law was valid only in Mindanao area, it could be extended to the whole country for “national security” reasons.

Who really is Duterte? “The Punisher” is the nickname the Time Magazine has attributed him due to the “zero tolerance” policy against organised crimes and the so called “war on the Lords of Drug” . According to an Amnesty International Report published on February 2017, it has caused the death of more than 7.000 men, women and children and in the conclusion is underlined that “police very often acts without evidences and the poorest and people living in rural areas are those who suffer most”. Since August 2016- and it has been repeated in many occasions in 2017- the United Nations and the Human Rights Council have publicly condemned the exponential number of extrajudicial killings, accusing Duterte of committing “crimes against humanity”. The President replied to such allegations with a threat to withdraw from the United Nations.

The long martial law tradition in the history of the Philippines makes the situation even harder. Historically, the first occasion has been during Spanish colonisation but, later in the centuries, many “autochthonous” presidents appreciated such practice which, indeed, has been used any time the opposition has taken stronger position than in the past. The most feared government by Filipino people is Ferdinand Marcos’s dictatorship (1965-1986) to whom Duterte has declared to get inspiration in order to establish the order in society again.

Accordingly, Duterte more than an exception is an unhappy praxis of the very much complex Filipino reality. However, unfortunately, nowadays the Philippines are not the only authoritarian country, you can think about Erdoğan’s Turkey, Maduro’s Venezuela and Trump’s United States. Considering the international panorama, it is undeniable that recently the main national governments’ interest has been extending their own political and economic powers more than respecting human rights and making them the leading principle of their policies.

International day of biological diversity: what, who, why?

Let’s start with a quote by Regina Lopez, Philippine’s ex-environment minister: “Who suffers if you kill the environment? It’s the poor”. From this perspective, today, on the International Day of Biological Diversity, it’s important to remember that biodiversity covers a wide range of issues, actors and initiatives.

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What? Biodiversity concerns stakeholders in sustainable agriculture; health and sustainable development; energy; knowledge-sharing and capacity-building; urban resilience; sustainable architecture; disaster risk reduction; vulnerable groups of the population; and food security, etc.

Who? Biodiversity affects all parts of the population, from the most vulnerable ones to the stakeholders, the North and the South of the world.

Why? Biodiversity refers to the variety and variability of life on Earth. And, as such, everyone’s concern is to ensure that our actions and decisions today do not inhibit the opportunities and the human rights of future generations. Indeed, the loss of biodiversity affects negatively many aspects of our life starting from human health, passing through agriculture, reaching the industry.

We are here today to remember you that Kito Onlus, as an organization who has always been fighting to support the most vulnerable parts of the population and to provide them the tools for a sustainable future, to minimize the negative environmental impact of buildings, to use a conscious approach to energy and ecological conservation, is a model of best practices in many of the issues covered by biodiversity. Check the “what” section and tell us which of these fields is not part of Kito’s activities’ program… Checked? Well the answer is no one!

diversity

World Day of Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development

“Cultural diversity stimulates creativity and investing in such creativity can transform a society. It is our responsibility developing  youth education and intercultural competences to support our world diversity and learn to live together peacefully among different languages, cultures and religions to carry on changes“ Irina Bokova, UNESCO General Director, 2015.

In 2001, the United Nations General Assembly has adopted the Resolution 57/249 which has established that May 21 is the World Day of Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. The general objective is raising awareness of the importance of intercultural and interreligious dialogue.

More in the detail, May 21 has the aim of:

  • Sensitising public opinion on the importance of intercultural dialogue, diversity and inclusion;
  • building a global community made up of individuals committed to supporting diversity;
  • fighting stereotypes to strengthen cooperation among people coming from various backgrounds both cultural and of any other type.

Nowadays especially, we can witness many cases of expressed and manifested prejudices, led by ethnocentrism, and other kinds of judgements which aim at deleting and ignoring cultural diversity. For this reason, not only every May 21, everyone should remember that it represents a resource and as any other resource must be protected. A more productive cooperation among cultures – which is an inevitable aspect in a global society  like ours – can be achieved in a environment valorising and making more precious the concept of “different”  always capable of coming up with new ideas. The existence of a unique culture would turn the world into unproductive and a way less interesting, yet unfortunately a similar process is on-going. Indeed, the Western lifestyle is continuously spreading and most of the times not for a matter of will but for a lack of alternatives. Today, many cultural groups find themselves at a crossroad: being totally absorbed by a dominant cultural subject or being excluded from it- which would be quite inconvenient from any point of view.

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Open Hospital: the first months after the software implementation!

As the ones who follow us already know, it is going on the collaboration with ‘Informatici senza frontiere Onlus‘ (Informatics Without Borders) who have created Open Hospital, a software that has allowed San Francisco Kito Health Unit’s medical staff to handle all the activities of the center from January until now. Thanks to this efficient system, on one hand, Kito Onlus managed to monitor the activities of the hospital center remotely. And on the other hand, the healthcare staff, who had received a training course from ISF Volunteer Engineer Paolo Schiavon in 2016, left only positive feedbacks about the use of the software. Open Hospital has indeed simplified the work of the local staff, enabling them to register patients into an electronic register in which they are divided by gender, age and diagnosis, thus allowing to distinguish patients who go to the center for the first time and who, satisfied of the service received, return.
Surely we will keep you updated with future events and activities!
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