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News and updates from the UU-UNO to keep you informed.
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Dear ,


As the high-level week of UN General Assembly wraps up at the Headquarters in New York, diplomats are able to get underway addressing many of the problems that plague our world. The weeks ahead will feature committee meetings to address issues such as disarmament, human rights, humanitarian situations, and more. You can watch the addresses from many of the representatives who spoke during the General Assembly's General Debate via the UN News website.

The Secretary-General's call for countries to bring concrete plans to the Climate Action Summit rather than grand speeches seems to have had some effect, with many countries committing to up their game beyond the commitments made in the 2015 Paris Agreement. Meanwhile, a landmark complaint was presented to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child by 16 youth activists from around the world stating that the failure of governments to act on the climate crisis constitutes a violation of children's rights.

So much going on! And I know there are lots of congregations holding UN Sunday services in the next few weeks. Remember to let me know if you need me to send you donation envelopes; these are helpful to have during your UN Sunday service if your congregation is aiming for Blue Ribbon status.


Here are the minutes from the September Envoy conference call. Our next call will be October 15 - please RSVP here. As always a reminder will be sent out the week before the call.

In faith, love, hope, and justice,

Allison Hess

International Engagement Associate

FOR YOUR NEWSLETTER
Some recommended text to put in your congregation's newsletter.


While the situation in Kashmir has largely disappeared from headlines in the U.S., it was felt during the high-level debate in September at the United Nations' annual General Assembly. The now nearly two-month long curfew and internet blackout continues to make life in Kashmir extremely difficult and hazardous, with thousands of journalists, academics, activists, and others being arrested and detained arbitrarily, and many young men and boys being disappeared. In September the representatives from many of the world's countries addressed the General Assembly at the UN's NYC Headquarters to lift up issues they are concerned about. Notable among these speakers was Pakistan's Prime Minister, Imran Khan, who spoke to the Indian occupation of the disputed region of Kashmir. On August 5, 2019 India defied UN Security Council Resolutions by revoking the special status of Kashmir, sending hundreds of thousands of Indian troops to enforce the curfew and internet blackout. In his address to the General Assembly, Imran Khan demanded that India lift this "inhuman" curfew which threatens an all-out conflict between India and Pakistan, two nuclear-armed states. "When a nuclear-armed country fights to the end, it will have consequences far beyond the borders. It will have consequences for the world," Mr. Khan said, adding: "That's not a threat... it's a fair worry. Where are we headed? I've come here because this is a test for the United Nations. You guaranteed the right to determination of the people of Kashmir. You have a responsibility." It is important for Unitarian Universalists to understand some of the complexity of tensions and powers in the region and the very real danger to human life and freedom - all of this further exacerbated by the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

ENVOY TASKS

Please complete the following tasks by the end of October.

  1. Have an awesome UN Sunday service!
  2. Please share details about your congregation's UN Sunday service at www.uua.org/unsunday/services
September Review: (1) Tell Allison if you need donation envelopes for UN Sunday (2) Participate in Global Climate Strike on 9/20.
UN News/Conor Lennon
Youth delegates at the 68th UN Civil Society Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. Aug. 28, '19.
EVENTS
A look behind, a look ahead

September 17-30: 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 74).
September 18-29: Allison out for vacation.
September 20-27: Climate week at the United Nations beginning with the Global #ClimateStrike and continuing with the UN Climate Action Summit.
September 21: International Day of Peace.
October 14: UUA offices closed for Indigenous People's Day.
October 24: United Nations Day.
October 27: United Nations Sunday.

TIME TO ACT

The following "Time to Act" suggestions for September 2019 will be related to the Eighth Sustainable Development Goal: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all - focusing on target 8.5 (By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value.) SDG 8? WHY IT MATTERS!
  • Support restaurants and companies that treat their workers ethically with fair wages and benefits.
    • Download ROC Diner’s Guide Free App for Android or iPhone to see full write-ups of the wages, benefits, and promotion practices of 150 of the most popular restaurant chains in the U.S.
  • Check out MIT’s Living Wage Calculator to see whether your county provides a living wage to workers in various fields based on family size and type. Use this as a basis for discussion in your congregation or for planning to boycott or petition companies that don’t respect the right to a living wage.
  • Support small businesses in accordance with the Goal 8 target 8.3 by sourcing the goods for coffee hour, events, and fundraisers from small businesses in your area instead of large chain stores.

UNITED NATIONS SUNDAY


This year's UN Sunday topic is intersectional gender equity. If you haven't yet, click below to check out the UN Sunday packet which is full of resources for planning a service and related congregational action along this theme. These are the congregations I know of that have UN Sunday scheduled:
September 1: UU Congregation at Montclair, NJ (Bruce speaking)
October 13: Murray Unitarian Church in Attleboro, MA
(Allison speaking)
Unitarian Church of All Souls in New York, NY (Bruce speaking at Adult Education)
October 20: Kingston Unitarian Fellowship, ON (Allison speaking)
Unitarian Church of All Souls in New York, NY (Bruce speaking at Adult Education)
Community Church of New York, NY
Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Myers, FL
October 27: First Unitarian Church of Providence, RI (Bruce speaking)
San Marcos UU Fellowship, TX (Allison speaking)
First Parish in Bedford, MA Unitarian Universalist
All Souls UU Church in Watertown, NY
November 24: UU Congregation of Central Nassau, NY (Bruce speaking)
January 12: UU Congregation of Sussex County, NJ (Bruce speaking)

If your congregation's service is scheduled but it's not on my list, please send a note so that I can add it! (Apologies if you already let me know and I've lost track.)

FROM THE INTERNATIONAL BLOG
Find more at www.uua.org/international/blog

Migrant Youth Informed Policy

By Hana Mangat, Migration Justice Intern
This summer I was the migration justice intern at the Unitarian Universalist UN Office. As I began my internship in June, the New York Times broke the story about migrant children being held in horrid, overcrowded, and unsanitary conditions at the U.S. border.....

Why I Protest

By Bob Delastrada, Disarmament Activist
Feel like the system is too big to change? Protest! The Matrix is a movie about people trying to unplug from a collective dream, controlled by machines... I can't help but compare the movie to acts of civil disobedience against nuclear weapons.....

Youth Strike to Halt Climate Change

By Lindsey Mayer, Climate Justice Intern
On August 28, 16 year old climate activist Greta Thunberg sailed into New York Harbor with the mission of bringing her message of climate justice to the United Nations. She was greeted by 17 sailboats, each representing a different Sustainable Development Goal....

A Look at the Issue of Cyber Security

By Joanne Dufour, Disarmament Volunteer
Much of the following text is taken from a blog post from the International Committee of the Red Cross: Human Cost of Cyber Operations. ICRC has encouraged readers to share this blog, and they invite feedback from readers....

NEWS: UNITED NATIONS
Keep yourself and your congregation informed about important news coming from the UN
Introducing... UNcomplicated: UN News has created a new podcast called "UNcomplicated", which grew out of a coffee shop conversation between UN staffer Sinduja Srinivasan and her friend Jason DeWall who had never set foot inside UN Headquarters. "The UN can seem intimidating and complicated," our dynamic hosts told us. "We aim to make the United Nations accessible and straightforward." Listen to UNcomplicated wherever you get your podcasts.
Afghan elections: UN Secretary-General António Guterres has welcomed the conduct of presidential elections in Afghanistan on September 28 and commended all Afghans "who exercised their democratic voice and upheld their right to vote, braving security concerns."

Climate change front lines: "All of us from small islands can relate to the word’s perception of us, as small islands", but rather than treating them as distant vessels, imagine instead "an undivided Pacific, connected by an ocean highway." That was the plea to world leaders from Vinzealhar Ainjo Kwangin Nen, youth activist from Papua New Guinea, speaking on behalf of her generation, on the front line of climate change.

Yemen humanitarian crisis: The United Nations announced that it is being forced to close down several humanitarian programs in Yemen because money pledged by Member States to pay for them has "failed to materialize."

Argentinian species rescue: Thousands of species of animals and plants which are indigenous to a vast forest in Argentina could be saved thanks to a partnership between the United Nations and Argentina.
 
This work is made possible by the generosity of member congregations and individual donors.

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