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English : World Days Calendar : December

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  1. World AIDS Day : December 1st
  2. International Day for the Abolition of Slavery : December 2nd
  3. International Day of Disabled Persons : December 3rd
  4. International Volunteer Day : December 5th
  5. National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women : December 6th
  6. International Anti-Corruption Day : December 9th
  7. International Migrants Day : December 18th
  8. International Human Solidarity Day : December 20th

World AIDS Day : December 1st

Description of the day :

World Aids Day

 World Aids Day takes place every year on December 1st. AIDS is a disease that has become a worldwide epidemic. Fighting AIDS, malaria, and other diseases is one of the Millennium Development Objectives that 191 United Nations member states committed to realize by the year 2015. Thus, the World AIDS Campaign (WAC) has chosen as its theme from 2005 to 2010: “Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise.”

What is AIDS?

AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, and is caused by a virus called the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The term AIDS applies to the most advanced stages of the infection with HIV, the virus that progressively destroys cells in the body’s immune system. Thus, the person’s body is no longer able to fight against infections and certain types of cancer. Furthermore, people infected with AIDS catch illnesses that are caused by microbes or bacteria that do not produce illness in healthy people. AIDS was diagnosed for the first time in the United States in 1981, and since it has become a pandemic.

 

What are the first symptoms of AIDS?

At the very beginning, many people do not exhibit any symptoms indicating that they are infected with HIV. Nevertheless, in the first few months following transmission, some people develop symptoms such as fever, fatigue, headaches and inflammation of the ganglions that disappear within 7 to 30 days, and are often mistaken as cold symptoms. More serious symptoms can take up to 10 years to manifest themselves in adults infected with HIV, and up to 2 years after birth in children. At the most advanced stage, infected persons become vulnerable to all illnesses, infections, and cancers because they no longer have any antibodies to fight them, and in the end they die.

 

 How is HIV transmitted?

HIV is most often transmitted by having sexual relations without a condom, with a person that is infected with HIV. The virus is also transmitted through blood transfusions with tainted blood. These days, thanks to screening tests and methods to destroy the virus in blood samples, the risk of HIV transmission through blood transfusions is very low. HIV is also transmitted by drug addicts that share contaminated needles or syringes that are contaminated with very small quantities of blood from a person that is carrying the virus. In addition, women can pass the virus on to their children during pregnancy or at birth. Between one-quarter and one-third of untreated, seropositive pregnant women transmit the infection to their infant. HIV can also be transmitted to a child through the mother’s milk.

 

 That being said, many studies of people infected with HIV have not found any proof that the virus can be transmitted by saliva. Thus, HIV cannot be transmitted through kissing, sweat, tears, urine, or fecal matter. Furthermore, studies demonstrate clearly that the virus does not spread through basic contact such as sharing bed covers, utensils, towels or linen, nor through pool water, the telephone, or toilet seats. HIV is also not transmitted by insects such as mosquitoes or bedbugs.

Consequences of AIDS

To this day in 2008, there still is no cure for AIDS. Since there is no vaccination against HIV, the only way to prevent infection is to avoid risky behaviour such as sharing needles or practicing unprotected sex. Only a few of the people infected with AIDS are able to afford the medication that slows down the progression of the disease due to its high cost. Thus, infected individuals die. AIDS creates millions of orphans each year.

HIV/AIDS in the World (on a map)

On November 21st, 2006, the UN and the World Health Organization jointly published a world report on AIDS. The results were sobering: 39.5 million people live with HIV, 4.3 million people were infected in 2006, and 2.9 million people died in 2006 alone. The world epidemic is continuing to grow, and rates are rising in countries where they were formerly stable or declining. Africa in particular is deeply affected. However, the number of infected persons is declining in some other countries, and thanks to numerous prevention programs across the globe, we are seeing encouraging changes in youth sexual behaviour. One of the most important ways to slow the pandemic is sexual education, prevention, and improved access to contraceptive measures.

So, on December 1st, lets join in the fight against AIDS!

Pedagogical tools :

Tanzania: AIDS and a lack of Medication

Student's Handout

Teacher's Guide

What you can do :

Action 1

Each year, the Farha Foundation organizes a march in downtown Montreal, rain or shine. The event brings together 12,000 people who use the opportunity to raise awareness and fundraise for people who live with HIV. Why not join in the march this year or even organize a march in your community?

Action 2

In any given sexual intercourse, protect yourself against AIDS/HIV, specifically while using latex condoms. If used appropriately, it will be your protection against AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections.


International Day for the Abolition of Slavery : December 2nd

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International Day of Disabled Persons : December 3rd

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International Volunteer Day : December 5th

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National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women : December 6th

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International Anti-Corruption Day : December 9th

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Human Rights Day : December 10th

Description of the day :

The Human Rights Day

 

Each year Human Rights Day commemorates the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations (UN) on the 10th of December 1948. In 1950, for the first time the UN general assembly invited member states to celebrate Human Rights Day by organizing special activities. Thus the 10th of December is an occasion to reflect on the importance of human rights and the ongoing struggle to ensure that they are respected. It is also an occasion to reflect on the scope of international justice and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and on the improvements that need to be made.

 

   Louise Arbour has been  the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights from 2004 to 2008.

 

Human Rights

In 2008, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights will celebrate its 60th year of existence. However, the idea that humans should all benefit from the same human rights is not new. In ancient Greece, and later in Rome, there were charts that listed citizens’ rights. However, slaves and women were not considered to be citizens! It was only much later that human rights were applied to all humans (what is called universality). After the French and American revolutions, declarations affirming human rights were drafted. However, the United-States took a long time to include Blacks in their definition of humanity.

Today, men, women, and children are accorded human rights without discrimination. The concept of human rights has evolved greatly over time. Nevertheless, certain categories of individuals, for example homosexuals, are still not included in the concept of human rights at the international level. Thus, there is much work left to be done to ensure that human rights apply to everyone.

 

   Darfour refugees.

  

The violation of Human Rights
Unfortunately, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights does not impose any legal obligations on the UN’s member states. This means that rights that are defined in the declaration can be violated, and there is no tribunal to punish these injustices. Furthermore, not everyone around the world receives the same degree of respect for their human rights. Each day, in many countries around the world, people’s rights are being violated. For example, at this moment millions of people are having their human rights violated in Darfur, in the south-west of Sudan. Millions of people are killed, displaced, abused, and mistreated by militias that are supported by the government.

 

  

Respecting Rights: Humanity at its Best

It is our duty as human beings, to learn about the injustices that are being committed around the world, and to raise awareness around us regarding these events. Many organizations work to publicize injustice and to rally people to act so that these abuses are stopped. For example, Amnesty International brings numerous cases of human rights abuses to public attention in order to raise public awareness. The Human Rights Watch organization works equally to document human rights violations around the world.

Injustice exists all around us. Despite this, it is possible to eliminate injustice if each of us does our part so that human rights are respected. Our responsibility goes beyond the World Human Rights Day; we must pursue human rights and justice every day.

Pedagogical tools :

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International Migrants Day : December 18th

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International Human Solidarity Day : December 20th

Description of the day :

International Human Solidarity Day

The UN General Assembly declared that starting in 2006, December 20th would be International Human Solidarity Day in order to raise awareness of the importance of solidarity in eradicating poverty. According to the UN, solidarity is one of the fundamental values of the 21st century. This value must be placed at the forefront and must exist between peoples because it is essential for international relations.

 

The International Human Solidarity Day is…

- A day to celebrate our unity in diversity;

- A day to remind governments to respect their commitments to international agreements;

- A day to raise public awareness of the importance of solidarity;

- A day to encourage debate on the ways to promote solidarity for the achievement of the; Millennium Development Goals including poverty eradication;

- A day of action to encourage new initiatives for poverty eradication.

 

 What is solidarity?

According to the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, solidarity is “unity or agreement of feeling or action, especially among individuals with a common interest”. Solidarity is within everyone’s reach and it goes hand in hand with the importance of mutual aid. Every day many acts of solidarity are offered. For example:

· Lending a hand to a friend in need;

· Preparing Christmas baskets for those less fortunate;

· Including a person who is alone in one of our activities;

· Preparing a speech that informs people about poverty or of the consequences of deforestation, etc.;

· Organizing or participating in a fundraising dinner, etc.

For many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community organizations, solidarity is at the heart of their mission and projects. They help to sow the seeds of solidarity and to build it between people everywhere in the world. Here are some examples.

Solidarity at the Quebec Association of International Cooperation Organizations (QAICO): “QAICO is involved in Quebecois society through its awareness activities and by motivating the public to take action, and through the publication of analyses and position papers regarding Canadian foreign policy and international current events. QAICO is a strong network and a dynamic actor in the realm of cooperation and of international solidarity in Quebec that is engaged in the construction of a just and interdependent world. Moreover, QAICO collaborates closely with other actors in Quebec’s civil society that are engaged here and elsewhere in building a just and peaceful world.”

Solidarity at OXFAM-Québec: OXFAM is a non-profit cooperation and an international solidarity organization. Its mission is “to support underprivileged populations in developing countries in their struggle for survival, progress, social justice and human rights. [Its] mission also includes mobilizing the Quebec population and helping the people of Quebec express their solidarity for a more equitable world.”

The solidarity at the Comité de solidarité/Trois-Rivières : “The mandate of CS/TR is to promote education, youth training, and to increase public awareness regarding questions of international development and of solidarity. Within the last 30 years, the organization has developed a diversity of activities (internships, multicultural events, collaborative projects, employment programs for people living at the margins of society (immigrants, single parents, the unemployed, etc.) The CS/TR has also created an online journal (200 000 visits to the website per month) and educational kits and projects through which over 550 schools have been able to take action through this resource.”

Sources: United Nations, AQOCI, OXFAM and CIDA websites.

Pedagogical tools :

Click here

What you can do :

Action 1

Please visit the respective websites of the following non-governmental organisations : AQOCI and CS/TR. Then, you will be able to know more about these organisations and how to get involved with them.

Action 2

Being aware of what is solidarity can appeal to those who want to reach out. And once kind deeds become daily habits, it is easier to feel bound to those needy and isolated. Stay attentive and available; unquestionably there is always someone needing your help either here or abroad.