YUVA wins ‘SADC Gender Protocol at Work 2019’ Award in the Youth Category

YUVA won the first prize for the Voice and Choice – SADC Gender Protocol @ Work Summit 2019 in the Youth category in recognition of its outstanding efforts in championing the Post-2015 SADC Gender Protocol and Sustainable Development Goals, and will be representing Mauritius at the regional summit to be held in South Africa in November 2019. 

YUVA was invited by Gender Links to participate in the Voice and Choice – SADC Gender Protocol @ Work Summit 2019, held on Friday, 31 May 2019 at the Gold Crest Hotel, in Quatre Bornes, to showcase its work and activities for the year 2018 – 2019 targeting the YOUTH.  

Continue reading “YUVA wins ‘SADC Gender Protocol at Work 2019’ Award in the Youth Category”

Achieving Gender Equity for Sustainable Development through Environmental Adult Education in Mauritius

Report prepared by Christiana Uzoaru Okorie, YUVA Project Writer

Introduction

In Africa and some parts of the world, gender stereotypes inherent in the culture of the people, defines women and men in opposite ways, create limitations to both women and men and legitimise unequal power relation. Gender stereotyping refers to the way in which a society expects women and men to behave and the specific roles women and men are expected to play the society. This cultural phenomenon has resulted in gender inequity in most African societies and contributed to non-attainment of sustainable development. Gender inequity inherent in society is a denial of Human Rights and is of great concern to sustainable development. Continue reading “Achieving Gender Equity for Sustainable Development through Environmental Adult Education in Mauritius”

20 February: World Day of Social Justice

Social justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. We uphold the principles of social justice when we promote gender equality or the rights of indigenous peoples and migrants. We advance social justice when we remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability.

For the United Nations, the pursuit of social justice for all is at the core of our global mission to promote development and human dignity. The adoption by the International Labour Organization of the Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization is just one recent example of the UN system’s commitment to social justice. The Declaration focuses on guaranteeing fair outcomes for all through employment, social protection, social dialogue, and fundamental principles and rights at work.

The General Assembly proclaimed 20 February as World Day of Social Justice in 2007, inviting Member States to devote the day to promoting national activities in accordance with the objectives and goals of the World Summit for Social Development and the twenty-fourth session of the General Assembly. Observance of World Day of Social Justice should support efforts of the international community in poverty eradication, the promotion of full employment and decent work, gender equity and access to social well-being and justice for all.

New Vision for the Economy

The world has changed dramatically. We no longer live in a world relatively empty of humans and their artifacts. We now live in the “Anthropocene era” in a full world where humans are dramatically altering their ecological life-support systems. Our traditional economic concepts and models were developed in an empty world. If we are to create sustainable prosperity, if we seek “improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risk and ecological scarcities,” we are going to need a new vision of the economy and its relationship to the rest of the world that’s better adapted to the new conditions we face.

We are going to need an economics that respects planetary boundaries, that recontinues the dependence of human well-being on social relations and fairness, and that recognises that the ultimate goal is real, sustainable human well-being , not merely growth of material consumption.

The new economics recognises that the economy is embedded in a society and culture that are themselves embedded in an ecological life-support system, and that the economy can’t grow forever on this finite planet.

Guidelines for a Just Transition

Background

The International Labour Organization unanimously adopted the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization on 10 June 2008. This is the third major statement of principles and policies adopted by the International Labour Conference since the ILO’s Constitution of 1919. It builds on the Philadelphia Declaration of 1944 and the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work of 1998. The 2008 Declaration expresses the contemporary vision of the ILO’s mandate in the era of globalization.

This landmark Declaration is a powerful reaffirmation of ILO values. It is the outcome of tripartite consultations that started in the wake of the Report of the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization. By adopting this text, the representatives of governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations from 182 member States emphasize the key role of our tripartite Organization in helping to achieve progress and social justice in the context of globalization. Together, they commit to enhance the ILO’s capacity to advance these goals, through the Decent Work Agenda. The Declaration institutionalizes the Decent Work concept developed by the ILO since 1999, placing it at the core of the Organization’s policies to reach its constitutional objectives.

The Declaration comes at a crucial political moment, reflecting the wide consensus on the need for a strong social dimension to globalization in achieving improved and fair outcomes for all. It constitutes a compass for the promotion of a fair globalization based on Decent Work, as well as a practical tool to accelerate progress in the implementation of the Decent Work Agenda at the country level. It also reflects a productive outlook by highlighting the importance of sustainable enterprises in creating greater employment and income opportunities for all.

The General Assembly Recognizes that social development and social justice are indispensable for the achievement and maintenance of peace and security within and among nations and that, in turn, social development and social justice cannot be attained in the absence of peace and security or in the absence of respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

It further recognizes that globalization and interdependence are opening new opportunities through trade, investment and capital flows and advances in technology, including information technology, for the growth of the world economy and the development and improvement of living standards around the world, while at the same time there remain serious challenges, including serious financial crises, insecurity, poverty, exclusion and inequality within and among societies and considerable obstacles to further integration and full participation in the global economy for developing countries as well as some countries with economies in transition.

On 26 November 2007, the General Assembly declared that, starting from the sixty-third session of the General Assembly, 20 February will be celebrated annually as the World Day of Social Justice.

Source: UN, 2017

LGBT Rights in Mauritius: Mauritius Youth Parliament, Session 2

This house believes that LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) rights in Mauritius are legally complicated and vague.

Although the law is silent on the topic of homosexuality and gender identity itself, sodomy is illegal and banned by the laws of the county. The nation was one of the 66 signatories of support for the UN declaration on sexual orientation and gender identity. Furthermore, although same-sex relationships are not recognised, LGBT people are protected from any kind of discrimination with the constitution guaranteeing the right of individuals to private life.

Laws about same-sex sexual activity

According to the Section 250 of the Mauritius Criminal Code of 1838, “Any person who is guilty of the crime of sodomy […] shall be liable to penal servitude for a term not exceeding 5 years.”

The age of consent in Mauritius is 16. Article 249 ‘Rape, attempt upon chastity and illegal sexual intercourse’ of the Penal Code: (…) Any person who has sexual intercourse with a female ‘under the age of sixteen (16), even with consent, shall be liable to penal servitude not exceeding ten (10) years.

Discrimination

The Equal Opportunities Act 2008 prohibits employers from discriminating against persons based on their sexual orientation, with “sexual orientation” being defined to mean “homosexuality (including lesbianism), bisexuality or heterosexuality”.

Adoption of children

According to a 2006 report, adoptive parents may be either single or married. LGBT persons are not specifically disqualified.

According to a website of the French government, single and married people are eligible to adopt children. The website does not say whether LGBT people are disqualified.

LGBT rights organisations

In Mauritius, there are several organisations for the LGBT community.

Founded in 2005, Collectif Arc en Ciel (“Rainbow Collective”) is the primary organisation for the LGBT community in Mauritius. The party fights homophobia and discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Founded in 1996, Pils is a centre for individuals with HIV/AIDS in the country, and also a place for the prevention and education of people living with HIV/AIDS.

Founded in 2014, the Young Queer Alliance is a youth-led organisation mainly for support, empowerment and protect the young LGBTQIA in Mauritius.

Founded in 2011, Association VISA G is an organisation mainly for Transgender people in Mauritius. VISA G is involved in legal support and empowerment of Trans.

Summary table

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes However anal sex is illegal punishable with 5 years imprisonment.
Equal age of consent Yes
Anti-discrimination laws in employment only Yes Since 2008
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services No
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (Incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) No
Same-sex marriages No
Recognition of same-sex couples No
Step-child adoption by same-sex couples No
Joint adoption by same-sex couples No
Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly in the military Emblem-question.svg
Right to change legal gender Emblem-question.svg
Access to IVF for lesbians No
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples No
MSMs allowed to donate blood No

Invitation 

YUVA invites you to attend the debate on this whole issue of LGBT Rights in Mauritius as the topic for the Session 2 of Mauritius Youth Parliament (MYP).

Facebook cover: LGBT Rights in Mauritius, Mauritius Youth Parliament, Session 2
Facebook cover: LGBT Rights in Mauritius, Mauritius Youth Parliament, Session 2

Poster: LGBT Rights in Mauritius, Mauritius Youth Parliament, Session 2
Poster: LGBT Rights in Mauritius, Mauritius Youth Parliament, Session 2

Note to participants

  • You can use the language you are most comfortable in;
  • Disagreements are bound to occur during the debate, but make sure you respect others’ point of view;
  • The session will be photographed and photographs will be posted on public online forums; and
  • You can send your questions on this topic by commenting below in this post.

1 October: International Day of Older Persons

On 14 December 1990, the United Nations General Assembly (by resolution 45/106) designated 1 October the International Day of Older Persons.

This was preceded by initiatives such as the Vienna International Plan of Action on Ageing – which was adopted by the 1982 World Assembly on Ageing – and endorsed later that year by the UN General Assembly.

In 1991, the General Assembly (by resolution 46/91) adopted the United Nations Principles for Older Persons.

In 2002, the Second World Assembly on Ageing adopted the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, to respond to the opportunities and challenges of population ageing in the 21st century and to promote the development of a society for all ages.

The theme of the 2015 commemoration is “Sustainability and Age Inclusiveness in the Urban Environment”.

Living up to the Secretary-General’s guiding principle of “Leaving No-One Behind” necessitates the understanding that demography matters for sustainable development and that population dynamics will shape the key developmental challenges that the world in confronting in the 21st century. If our ambition is to “Build the Future We Want”, we must address the population over 60 which is expected to reach 1.4 billion by 2030.

Background

The composition of the world population has changed dramatically in recent decades. Between 1950 and 2010 life expectancy worldwide rose from 46 to 68 years, and it is projected to increase to 81 by the end of the century. It should be noted that at present women outnumber men by an estimated 66 million among those aged 60 years or over. Among those aged 80 years or over, women are nearly twice as numerous as men, and among centenarians women are between four and five times as numerous as men. For the first time in human history, in 2050, there will be more persons over 60 than children in the world.

Almost 700 million people are now over the age of 60. By 2050, 2 billion people, over 20 per cent of the world’s population, will be 60 or older. The increase in the number of older people will be the greatest and the most rapid in the developing world, with Asia as the region with the largest number of older persons, and Africa facing the largest proportionate growth. With this in mind, enhanced attention to the particular needs and challenges faced by many older people is clearly required. Just as important, however, is the essential contribution the majority of older men and women can continue to make to the functioning of society if adequate guarantees are in place. Human rights lie at the core of all efforts in this regard.

The introduction of new policies and programmes

During the last decade, population ageing has led to the introduction of new policies and programmes, in which the social sector has taken centre stage, as shown by the majority of contributions to the present report. Many Governments in developed and developing economies have designed or piloted innovative policies in the health, social security or welfare systems. In addition, several policy framework documents, including national plans of action on ageing have been enacted. Specific age-related legislative measures in areas as varied as building codes, licensing and monitoring of care centres and vocational training have also begun to emerge. All levels of government, from local to national, have taken a share in this responsibility, and have either created new institutions or renewed existing ones to seek ways of gradually responding to the challenges faced by older persons.

Understanding the roles of older persons in family and society

Government institutions have chosen diverse approaches in setting priorities. These choices highlight different perceptions of the role that older people play in the family and in society at large. In some cases, measures aim to capture the rapidly evolving dynamics of communities and societies, inviting a second look at current perceptions about older persons and work, elder-care mechanisms, intergenerational support systems and financial constraints. Some Governments have designed policies founded on the principle of active ageing and autonomy, aimed at facilitating the continuation of independent lives at home, with services and facilities that cater for various types of needs. Others emphasize family ties and support for the family unit as the primary source of care for older persons. In all cases, a network of private actors, including various volunteer organizations and community-based centres, are essential to the smooth functioning of the entire system.

Of special resonance is the situation of older women who face inequalities as a result of their gender-based roles in society. Gender relations structure the entire life cycle, influencing access to resources and opportunities, with an impact that is both ongoing and cumulative. The different circumstances that shape the lives of women and men in old age are the outcome of a lifetime of experience. Good health, economic security, adequate housing, an enabling environment, access to land or other productive resources, these are the fundamentals of ageing with dignity, yet achieving them depends on decisions and choices only partly determined by each individual. The impact of gender inequalities in education and employment becomes most pronounced in old age. As a result, older women are more likely than older men to be poor. Furthermore, older women often take on greater responsibilities for family care while managing inflexible working conditions, mandatory retirement ages and inadequate pensions and other social security benefits, which leave them, and those in their care, extremely vulnerable. Without doubt, ageing, its human rights challenges and its feminization constitute an unprecedented shift in the social fabric of all societies, with far-reaching consequences.

Addressing the situation

The international community started to highlight the situation of older persons in the Vienna International Plan of Action on Ageing, adopted at the World Assembly on Ageing in 1982. The 1991 United Nations Principles for Older Persons, the 1992 Global Targets on Ageing for the Year 2001 and the 1992 Proclamation on Ageing further advanced international understanding of essential requirements for the well-being of older persons.

The Political Declaration and the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, 2002, adopted at the Second World Assembly on Ageing, and endorsed by the General Assembly in its resolution 57/167, reinvigorated the political consensus on an agenda on ageing, emphasizing development and international cooperation and assistance in this area. Since its adoption, the Madrid International Plan has guided the drafting of policies and programmes at the national level, inspired the development of national and regional plans and provided an international framework for dialogue.

The Madrid International Plan of Action

In the Political Declaration adopted in Madrid, Member States reaffirmed their commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights, and called for the elimination of age discrimination, neglect, abuse and violence. More specifically, the Madrid International Plan contained guidance on the right to work, the right to health, participation and equality of opportunity throughout life, stressing the importance of the participation of older persons in decision-making processes at all levels.

The priorities set out in the Madrid International Plan of Action include a wide range of issues: equal employment opportunities for all older persons; programmes that enable all workers to acquire social protection and social security, including, where applicable, pensions, disability insurance and health benefits; and sufficient minimum income for all older persons, with particular attention to socially and economically disadvantaged groups. The importance of continuous education, vocational guidance and placement services are also stressed, including for the purpose of maintaining a maximum functional capacity and enhancing public recognition of the productivity and the contributions of older persons. Health is also a key feature of the Madrid Plan of Action. The provisions encompass notions of prevention, equal access to health care, active participation, the impact of HIV/AIDS in respect to older persons and the full functionality of supportive and care-giving environments.

Basic Human Rights

There are numerous obligations vis-à-vis older persons implicit in most core human rights treaties despite the lack of specific provisions focusing on them. Such instruments apply to older persons in the same way as to all other people, providing protection for essential human rights, including the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, freedom from torture, inhuman or degrading treatment and equality before the law as well as for an adequate standard of living without discrimination on any grounds.

Article source: United Nations