Fighting For Human Rights

April 5, 2016

By Maggie Angel

Since its inception in 1945, the United Nations has tried to bring countries together to cooperate in creating a better world, based on the principle of encouraging respect for human rights. For the past 70 years, the United Nations has become an international organization that has expanded to advocate for a variety of issues and has included non-government organizations (NGOs) in its pursuit of international security.

In 2000, the United Nations held the Millennium Summit, the largest gathering of world leaders in history, where they adopted the UN Millennium Declaration in which they committed to a new global partnership setting out a series of eight targets with a deadline of 2015 known as the Millennium Development Goals. The Millennium Development Goals focuses on several issues such as extreme poverty, hunger, disease, lack of adequate shelter, and promoting gender equality, education and environmental sustainability. It establishes and reinforces the basic human rights-the rights of each person on the planet to health, education, shelter and security.

The United Nations is based in New York, but the connection is closer to home than you may think. Our very own Javier Reyes is part of the mission to the United Nations for the Claretians Missionaries. The Claretian Missionaries are a religious order that follows St. Anthony Mary Claret, a Spanish missionary that became the first Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba in 1849. He founded the order of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, now known as the Claretian Fathers and Brothers. They have continued their mission of serving Hispanic/Latino communities. They live out this mission by advocating for indigenous rights, migrant rights, and human rights and in Latin America. The Claretians have joined the group of the Religious at the United Nations to bring their experiences they see on the ground in their missionaries throughout the Americas to delegates in the United Nations.

The Model United Nations Club here at Dominican has also been bringing awareness to the mission of the United Nations on campus. Beyond the clubs participation in Model United Nations Conferences in Chicago and in other similar events throughout the Midwest, it has created events that highlight pertinent global issues that are related to the Millennium Development Goals. In March, the club hosted a celebration for International Women’s Day that advocated for gender equality politically, socially and economically as well as the prevention of gender based violence. The Model UN club together with University Ministry will focus on the fight for human rights and indigenous rights by hosting the main representative of the Claretian’s Mission to the United Nations. Fr. Eddie De Leon will come on April 26 at 5:00 p.m. in Springer Suites for a presentation and Q&A session on the Claretian’s work for human rights and his personal experience working in the United Nations. To learn more about the United Nations visit and for the Claretians and their work visit