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Young Soldiers: Why they choose to fight

This publication seeks to better understand the realities facing boys and girls who “volunteer” for participation in armed conflict, highlighting personal, socio-economic and political factors that motivate their decisions to participate. It is based on in-depth interviews with young soldiers and ex-soldiers from around the world, including the conflict situations in Afghanistan, Colombia, the Congo, Northern Ireland, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Sri Lanka.

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  • an oral statement submitted to the 60th session of the UN Commission on Human Rights,
  • a written statement submitted to the 60th session of the UN Commission on Human Rights, and
  • This paper presented at a conference of the Spanish Red Cross

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September 2012

TRIPS-Related Patent Flexibilities and Food Security: Options For Developing Countries - Policy Guide

Food security is  as a pressing global challenge. Agricultural innovation is critical to addressing it. Equally important is ensuring that the benefits of such innovation are widely diffused, especially in developing countries.

How should countries design their intellectual property (IP) system to encourage and support agricultural innovation?  

The TRIPS Agreement provides WTO Members with flexibility to implement IP provisions in a way consistent with their agriculture and food security objectives. Yet these flexibilities have received little attention so far.

This Policy Guide seeks to fill this gap by providing an overview of TRIPS-related patent flexibilities that support agriculture and food security. 

This Policy Guide is designed for negotiators and policymakers in the areas of intellectual property, agriculture and food policy as well as breeders, farmers and other members of civil society. It also intended to be a useful tool for providers and recipients of technical assistance in the areas of intellectual property and agriculture. 

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December 2014

Trade Liberalization and Food Security: Examining the Linkages

The paper is released as part of our project working towards a New Framework for Trade & Investment in Agriculture, in which we are exploring some of the questions at the heart of defining the purpose, structure and direction of governance of trade and investment in agriculture, in order to place livelihoods, dignity, sustainability, resilience and food security at the heart of the rules governing these areas.

The analysis presented in the paper highlights three points:

  • First, it shows that the dominant neoclassical economic arguments for agricultural trade have many caveats that need to be put out in the open and examined in light of food security concerns.
  • Second, it shows that current trade theory tends to utilize an outdated notion of food security, and could benefit from a more nuanced understanding of the concept.
  • Third, it shows that trade theory and policy tends to prioritize efficiency (in a narrow sense) over other social goals, including ensuring the right to food, the need to preserve livelihoods and to protect the environment.

Given the political importance of these social goals, the paper suggests that we are only likely to see advancement of the dialogue on trade policy and food security once these broader goals are put on equal footing with trade and efficiency concerns.

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April 2007

The Impact of Parental Imprisonment on Children

One of QUNO’s earlier studies on the effects of parental imprisonment on children.  All through the criminal justice system, which focuses almost exclusively on the offender from arrest to post-release, the best interests of children are rarely taken into account. The paper highlights some of the experiences of children with an imprisoned parent and identifies some good practices that offer “well-considered and holistic solutions to particular problems.”

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August 2015

Realizing the right to food in an era of climate change

Agriculture is a major contributor to anthropogenic climate change, and in turn climate change threatens the viability of food production around the world. The spread of capital- and technology-intensive 'industrial' agriculture in the modern era has been accompanied by an erosion of on-farm genetic diversity, a loss of local knowledge, and the abandonment of traditional farming practices. This undermines our capacity to adapt to already-changing climatic conditions.

This report highlights the role of small-scale farmers as innovators and custodians of food system diversity, a critical resource in ensuring the realization of the right to food in an era of climate change. Taking an innovation systems perspective, it proposes a new framework for the design of collaborative agricultural research projects and agendas, and notes the need for pro-active policy measures in creating an enabling environment for such partnerships.

The report is available for download free by clicking on the link below.

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February 2007

Pre-trial Detention of Women and its Impact on Their Children

“Drawing together findings from academics, professionals and the United Nations, this paper examines the ways in which women are disproportionately affected by pre- trial detention and how this impacts on their children. It considers the reasons for the over-use of pre-trial detention, issues around over-long periods of detention and the problems of inappropriate conditions of detention for pre-trial detainees. It also provides practical suggestions for improvements as well as a range of alternatives to pre-trial detention.”

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June 2016

Policy brief: The relationship between intellectual property rights and small-scale farmer innovation

The relationship between intellectual property (IP) and small-scale farmer innovation is far from straightforward. The majority of innovation in agriculture is not driven by the promise of exclusionary rights that some IP tools afford — it takes place on the farm and is a collaborative and incremental process, the outcomes of which cannot be attributed to individual rights holders.

However some IP tools – when carefully selected and adapted to suit domestic circumstances – may have the potential to help drive small-scale farmer innovation or, at minimum, allow the space for it to occur unimpeded.

This paper discusses how alternative or sui generis plant variety protection systems, collective and certification trademarks, and geographical indications may encourage on-farm innovation.

On the other hand, IP tools that are more conventionally believed to incentivise innovation in agriculture (i.e. patents, UPOV-style plant variety protection systems, and less commonly trade secrets) have the potential to impede on-farm innovation.

Policy makers at the national level should take into account the value of small-scale farmer innovation for national and global food security when developing national food security strategies, and take advantage of the flexibilities allowed under the WTO TRIPS Agreement when implementing IP legislation that reflects the realities of domestic agricultural sectors.

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December 2015

Policy Brief: The relationship between food security policy measures and WTO trade rules

This report first provides a historical overview of both the concept of food security and the incorporation of agriculture into international trade negotiations. It then turns to the relationship between food security policy options and the WTO’s trade rules, and highlights opportunities for governments to implement policies that support food security while meeting their international obligations. It concludes by laying out a range of policy measures to enhance food security, assessing the compatibility of each with WTO regulations. 

Prepared by David Elliott, based on a full-length report by Kim Burnett, available below. 

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December 2015

Policy Brief: Small-scale farmer innovation

This policy brief consolidates lessons learned from an in-depth literature review on small-scale farmer (SSF) innovation systems and a two-day expert consultation on the same topic that QUNO hosted in May 2015. 

The key message here is that small-scale farmer innovation systems are unique relative to more ‘formal’ agricultural innovation systems. For this reason, the types of policies that are put in place to encourage innovation in agriculture require a fundamental reconsideration.

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August 2009

Orphans of Justice - In search of the best interests of the child when a parent is imprisoned: A Legal Analysis

This paper is part of a series of publications looking at the different aspects of the impact of parental imprisonment on children. Jean Tomkin, an Irish trainee solicitor had written her Masters’ dissertation on the issue of children of imprisoned parents, and re-worked and updated it for publication under QUNO’s series. The publication explores the legal issues concerning the rights of the child in these circumstances, and studies case law from several contexts. QUNO hopes the publication will “encourage and enable lawyers, judges, policy-makers and activists to understand why and how the best interests of the child can and should be taken into account when a parent with caring responsibilities for children comes within the criminal justice system.”

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August 2007

Neither Mountain nor Molehill -UN Human Rights Council:
 One Year On

This publication was developed by Rachel Brett and covers the first year of existence of what was then the newest international human rights mechanism, the UN Human Right’s Council. It covers the period from 19 June 2006 to 18 June 2007. The report gives an overview of the Council’s first year of operation, and the differences between it and its predecessor – the UN Commission on Human Rights.

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June 2013

Lightening the Load of the Parental Death Sentence on Children

This is a very detailed study exploring the situations of children whose parents have been sentenced with capital punishment. It looks first at the commonalities between their experiences and those of children whose parents have been incarcerated, and then at the differences between these groups of children. It also sets out recommendations.

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November 2002

Juvenile Justice, Counter-terrorism and Children

This document deals with an aspect of the problem of child participation in armed conflict that is little explored and not well understood - how child participants in armed conflict, internal violence and other militarized situations are/should be treated by the justice system and by counter-terrorism legislation.

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November 2011

International Standards on Conscientious Objection to Military Service

Conscientious objection to military service is now clearly protected as a human right under international law, even if the term "conscientious objection" does not appear in the international human rights treaties per se.

This paper presents the analysis and findings of the UN Human Rights Committee, the European Court of Human Rights as well as procedures of the Human Rights Council (Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief) that show how conscientious objection to military service is protected under international human rights law, particularly under the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

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November 2011

International Standards on Conscientious Objection to Military Service

This document lays out the ways in which conscientious objection has been recognized and is protected under human rights treaties and mechanisms. In this way, it responds to those who claim that, as conscientious objection to military service is not explicitly recognized by international human rights treaties, it is not protected by them.

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February 2011

Food, Biological Diversity and Intellectual Property

The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) influences global policy relating to agricultural research, as it is the only international organisation with responsibility for plant variety protection.

This report seeks to raise awareness about UPOV’s role and way of working. It aims to provide a point of reference around which key actors – both supportive and critical of current approaches to intellectual property (IP) protection of plants – can engage in discussions and exchange of ideas.

The report also discussion the history of Plant Variety Protection (PVP) and Plant Breeders' Rights (PBRs) as well as UPOV's relationship with the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the FAO's Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA). It also refers to discussions on disclosure of origin of genetic resources, farmers' rights and the WIPO Development Agenda.

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August 2008

Digging Foundations or Trenches? UN Human rights Council: Year 2,

This is the second publication developed by Rachel Brett on the establishment and workings of the UN Human Right’s Council. This report covers the Council’s second year (June 2007 – June 2008), in which it was to complete the ‘institution-building’ phase, and transition into a more substantive mode of work.

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January 2006

Demanding Attention: Addressing the Dynamics of Small Arms Demand

This is a joint publication by QUNO and the Small Arms Survey.  It summarizes the findings of a multi-year project that included research in Brazil, Colombia, South Africa, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands. The paper aimed to inform the debates at the 2006 Review Conference (reviewing implementation of the 2001 UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects). Most international debates focus on the supply-related dimensions of small arms problems, which include, for instance, regulating arms brokers, establishing controls on arms transfers etc. This paper brings a necessary, complementary view, to broaden the international community’s understanding of those demand factors that underpin and drive small arms dynamics. The paper provides some practical suggestions about how demand issues may be taken up in the future.

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