Health and Human Rights in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS: A Modern-Day Civil Rights Struggle

As Orthodox Christians, we are charged with viewing people of all races equally, both under God as well as societally. This stems not from political opinion, but rather our shared view that we are all created in His image. This year, as we commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we are reminded of his tremendous work towards racial equality and the sacrifices he made for civil rights. When evaluating the impact he has had on the world, we must not become complacent. As Archbishop... Read More

Archdiocese Sponsors UN Event on ISIL and Human Trafficking

Shown with Nicholas Anton, representing the Archdiocese Ecumenical Office at the UN, are: (from left) Sr. Aine O’Connor, RSM (Sisters of Mercy: Mercy International Association: Global Action), Christiana Peppard (Fordham University), Meera Karunananthan (The Blue Planet Project), Ambassador Dr. Caleb Otto (Permanent Mission of Palau), Mark Gruin (IOCC), Emem Okon (WoMin), and Rev. Thomas Brennan, SDB (Salesian Missions).
© United Nations

NEW YORK – During the 60th UN Commission on the Status of Women, the Archdiocese, together with the World Coun- cil of Churches and the Lutheran World Federation, on March 21 co-sponsored an event titled, “Forced Migration, Human Trafficking, and Child Soldiers: How ISIL is Exploiting the Conflict in the Middle East.” A robust dialogue among policy, legal, and academic specialists explored ISIL’s exploitation of the current political and humanitarian crisis in the Middle East, with careful attention given to ISIL’s (Islamic State in the Levant, also known as ISIS) impact on the spread of forced migration, human trafficking, and child soldiers.

Panelists included: Ms. Li Fung, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict; Edward J. Flynn, senior human rights officer for the UN Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate; Shafferan Sonneveld, global advocacy director, Muslims for Progressive Values; and Rev. Dr. Emeka Xris Obiezu, main representative of Augustinians International to the UN and vice chairman of the UN NGO Committee on Migration.

Emphasizing the need to empower all members of society to combat the ISIL threat, Edward Flynn reminded the audience that, “Member States have been called upon to empower civil society groups, community leaders, religious leaders, women, youth, families, to bring them into the struggle against such organizations. Engagement and empowerment is a critical element to confronting the ISIL threat."

Following the event, Archimandrite Fr. Nathanael Symeonides, director of the Archdiocese Department of Inter-Orthodox, Ecumenical, and Interfaith Relations, noted the need to supplement with prayer efforts to combat the exploitation of human beings: “While nations, civil society organizations, and individuals labor to end the exploitation of human beings, we must remember that prayer is a necessary tool in our search for reconciliation, peace, and the reconstitution of human dignity in the lives of those who have been exploited and harmed.”

The Archdiocese is accredited through the UN Department of Public Information (UN DPI) and has General Consultative Status under the Economic and Social Council of the UN (ECOSOC). The Archdiocese has been actively working at the UN for 30 years.

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