FAN and FI Collaborate on UN Human Rights Workshop

HNP Communications Franciscan World

WASHINGTON — The Franciscan Action Network and Franciscans International co-sponsored a recent workshop to enable members of the Franciscan community to better understand how the United Nations reviews the human rights record of its 192 members.

From time to time, the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review, under the direction of the Human Rights Council, looks at the human rights records of its member states. When the United States was reviewed in 2010, immigration, torture and human trafficking were key human rights concerns, according to Patrick Carolan, executive director of FAN. These issues are central to Franciscan Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation efforts.

Approximately 30 people participated in the May 23 workshop, held at the Bread for the World offices in Washington, D.C. Russel Murray, OFM, who is beginning a new position at the Franciscan Center for Service and Advocacy at Siena College in Upstate New York, participated.

Participants from several Franciscan communities joined representatives from other faith-based groups for discussion and interactive sessions to strengthen collaborative efforts to improve U.S. policy.

Morse Flores, from FI’s Geneva, Switz., office, introduced the UPR process, explaining how Franciscans can follow up on recommendations concerning the United States.

Morse led discussions on what the UPR process is, how Franciscans participated in the recommendations, and what steps Franciscans can take to ensure that the United States implements the suggestions.

Russel called Morse’s presentation excellent. “The collaboration between Franciscan Action Network andFranciscans International is exciting and a great way to bring together Franciscan communities in the United States and around the world on issues of social justice.”

The workshop is the beginning of FAN-FI collaboration on these issues. Additional information about the UPR process, links to the UPR report, FI response and the accepted recommendations are available on the FAN website.

On May 22, the day before the workshop, Carolan and Flores met with members of the French-speaking African community at the Province’s St. Camillus Church, Silver Spring, Md.

— Wendy Healy is a freelance writer based in Danbury, Conn.