Timeline

June 2017

Susan Bragdon Nominated to Attend Expert Group Meeting on Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 2

QUNO’s Food & Sustainability Representative Susan Bragdon was one of 100 experts nominated to participate in an expert group meeting (EGM) intended to measure the progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of Goals agreed to in Agenda 2030 in September 2015.

This EGM, which was organized by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the World Food Programme (WFP), took place on June 12-13, 2017 at the UN headquarters in New York. The two-day EGM was convened in preparation for the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) and brought together a diverse group of experts and stakeholders in an interactive dialogue to assess progress made in reaching the targets of SDG 2, to identify challenges at the national and international levels, and to produce key political messages and policy recommendations in advance of the HLPF.

QUNO is welcoming the opportunity to be part of this process and is looking forward to collaborate with UN agencies as well as civil society organizations and the private sector in order to ‘end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.’

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June 2017

Towards a Human Rights Based Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration: Paper #3: Implementation, Monitoring and Accountability Mechanisms

This paper presents examples of implementation, monitoring and accountability mechanisms under six multilateral agreements that we believe can be learnt from in considering how to achieve an effective global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration. The examples draw on a range of international agreements from different areas of policy and range from long-standing UN mechanisms to very recent agreements for which the specific means of implementation are still under negotiation. This paper hopes to assist stakeholders in considering some of the potential options for effective implementation of this new international agreement.

This paper is part of QUNO’s paper series, “Towards a Human Rights Based Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration,” a set of contributions to the global compact on migration process. To access these papers, please see this section of our website.

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June 2017

QUNO to host side event on the Right to Conscientious Objection to Military Service: Towards Implementation

QUNO will host a side event at the 35th Session of the Human Rights Council on the issue of conscientious objection to military service. The event will be held on Monday 19 June 2017, 12:00-13:00 Room XXVII, at the Palais des Nations.

Following the presentation to the Human Rights Council of the Analytical report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights this side event will explore the report and look to what further steps the Council can take on the issue of conscientious objection to military service.

It will feature a panel of the following speakers:

  • Ambassador Vesna Batistić Kos, Permanent Mission of Croatia Ambassador Piotr Stachanczyk, Permanent Mission of Poland
  • Seungho Park, World Without War (Republic of Korea) TBC
  • Michael Wiener, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Moderator: Laurel Townhead, Quaker United Nations Office
Light refreshments will be served after the side event
If you would like to attend and do not have a valid grounds pass please contact Catherine Baker (cbaker@quno.ch) by Thursday 15 June.

 

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June 2017

In & Around the UN

Our New York office is happy to share our most recent Newsletter, "In & Around the UN," featuring articles on our recent visit to the Middle East; QUNO's participation in the Women's March; reflections on Somali refugees, and more. 

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June 2017

Briefing the Committee on the Rights of the Child on children of prisoners

On 31st May 2017, the Child Rights Connect Working Group on Children of Incarcerated Parents held a briefing and discussion with the Committee on the Rights of the Child, focussing on the rights of children of incarcerated parents.

Laurel Townhead (QUNO) and Rachel Brett (COPE member) provided an introduction, highlighting work done so far by the Committee, particularly since the Day of General Discussion in 2011. They noted that despite significant advances in understanding on this issue, implementation remains patchy and more can be done by the Committee to ensure protection of these children’s rights.

Their introductions were followed by a discussion with members of the Committee, many of whom have a long-standing commitment to this issue. The main points raised in the discussion were:

  • The need for child rights perspectives to be taken up in cases involving separation of children from their arrested or incarcerated parent, particularly by the European Court of Human Rights.
  • Consideration of how best to protect the rights of children detained with their mothers and ensuring that their best interests are met, including in the Latin American context.
  • Alternatives to imprisonment such as home detention.
  • Good practice from South Africa based on a Constitutional Court ruling setting out a test for taking the best interests of the child into account when sentencing their primary carer.
  • Protection of children and ensuring childcare arrangements are in place in situations of arrest of a parent.
  • The lack of services available in many countries for children affected by parental imprisonment, particularly health and social services.
  • Good practice examples in protecting these children’s rights, such as the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Italian Ministry of Justice, the children’s ombudsman and the main NGO working on this issue in Italy.
  • The importance of continuing to raise this in reviews and in Concluding Observations and work done with regional networks to provide the Committee with information about the situation in countries as they report.
  • The interest and possibility of a General Comment by the Committee on this issue.

 

 

For more information please see the following documents shared with the Committee members:

  • A short briefing by the QUNO on the Committee’s work to date on this issue.
  • A longer briefing paper Committee’s work on children of incarcerated parents. L. Townhead ‘Briefing Paper: Children of Incarcerated Parents International Standards and Guidance’, (2015) Quaker United Nations Office.
  • The Italian Memorandum of Understanding.
  • Child Rights Connect Working Group on Children of Incarcerated Parents’ recommendations for States based on Italian good practice.

 

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May 2017

Reflections on Reconciliation in the Middle East

A poster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad behind the vehicle of UN special envoy for Syria

On a recent visit to Beirut, Andrew Tomlinson, Director of QUNO New York, was invited to offer some reflections on reconciliation to a group of experts engaged in regional humanitarian and development action.

The presentation emphasized that reconciliation is a multi-generational process, that it is applicable wherever there are divided societies (at any level of development), that it has as much to do with prevention as it does with post conflict recovery, with the future as much as the past. Furthermore, while reconciliation is intimately connected with structural issues of inclusion and social justice in the longer term, at any one point in time the key is often to identify practical and realistic actions that, while consistent with the longer term ends, can move ahead irrespective of the ebb and flow of the larger political dynamics, and that such approaches can usefully combine the application of a restorative lens to a wide range of humanitarian, development, and commercial actions.

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May 2017

Preventing Violence - Community-based approaches to Early Warning and Early Response

On 22 May, QUNO, as one of the co-facilitators of the Civil Society – UN Prevention Platform, hosted a publication launch and discussion on: “Preventing Conflict: Community-based approaches to Early Warning and Early Response.”  The lead author of the publication, Steven Leach, reflected on the report’s key findings and recommendations. He brought to attention the importance of building trust-based relationships when developing and implementing community approaches to Early Warning and Early Response. Additionally, he noted that promoting an inclusive approach, mainly to involve communities from the margins, is essential. Marginalized communities often experience escalated tensions and violence first, and excluding such communities risks reinforcing cycles of violence that they experience. 

Joined by various panelists from the Office of Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the UN, the discussion offered a broad range of views and reflections drawing from their experiences in community-based approaches to early warning and early response.  Participants emphasized the importance of early response as a critical prevention tool. It was also acknowledged that effective peacebuilding in a community setting takes a significant amount of time and relies on inclusive dialogue, community engagement and trust building. The Civil Society – UN Prevention Platform has continued to hold thematic discussions to support the prevention agenda at the UN and create an interactive platform for civil society, UN actors, and member states to exchange information and share best practices. 

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May 2017

QUNO hosts the Friends Church Peace Teams

An essential part of QUNO’s work to promote peacebuilding and prevention at the UN is to ensure that diverse voices inform discussions, particularly practitioners working at the local level and communities that would be impacted by policies. In May, QUNO hosted, Getry Agizah, a Kenyan Quaker, and Coordinator of the Friends Church Peace Teams (FCPT)/ Transforming Communities for Social Change (TCSC) to share her work on peacebuilding at the community level. Getry, a proud peace builder, works tirelessly to transform societies in the western Kenya region. During her visit, Getry shared her perspectives on local-level peacebuilding by highlighting examples of how she has successfully used her training in Alternatives to Violence (AVP) and Healing and Rebuilding our Communities (HROC) to support the communities she works with in the areas of healing, and reconciliation.

On the first day of her two-day visit to New York, Getry took part in a meeting with a diverse group of New York-based civil society organizations to explore key themes that she has found in her work. Some of the emerging themes were the need to build trust with and work directly with communities, as this supports efforts to build peace. Additionally, she brought attention to the need to fully understand the context of the environment one is working in, including recognizing the challenges facing marginalized communities such as extreme poverty and post-conflict trauma. Getry noted the value and impact of including women and youth in peacebuilding and shared her experiences with projects she has led working with orphans, and women in the community. On the second day, she took part in bilateral meetings with member states and UN actors to further discuss and explore the need for inclusivity and reconciliation in local peacebuilding initiatives. QUNO was glad to have hosted her and hopes she will return to provide updates to UN, civil society and member state colleagues on the impact of her work and share more on local peacebuilding perspectives.

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May 2017

QUNO co-hosted a side-event on the margins of the consultations for the Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration

QUNO co-hosted a side event with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and co-sponsored by the Governments of Portugal, El Salvador, Canada, Switzerland and Mexico, at the first consultation session for the Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration.

The event, Protecting the human rights of migrants in vulnerable situations, in May focused on how UN Member States can better combat abuse and exploitation suffered by migrants in vulnerable situations, and better protect migrants’ rights under international human rights law. It drew in particular on a set of 'principles and practical guidance on the human rights protection of migrants in vulnerable situations', which have been developed by the Global Migration Group.

The consultations were the first time that Member States met to discuss what should be included in the Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration. As such, this timely event sought to strengthen the message that protecting the human rights of all migrants should be central to the Compact.

A full outline of the event is attached.

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May 2017

Initial Reflections on Implementation, Monitoring and Accountability Mechanisms ahead of a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration

QUNO's third paper on the process towards developing a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration will focus on mechanisms for implementation, monitoring and accountability in international agreements. Here we publish some initial reflections based on work to date analysing different implementation, monitoring and accountability mechanisms from various UN treaties and agreements. A full paper will follow shortly.

Our interim reflections highlight elements found in other international agreements that we believe can be learnt from in considering how best to build effective implementation, monitoring and accountability mechanisms into the Global Compact on Safe Orderly and Regular Migration. We share them at this stage for consideration ahead of the first thematic consultation towards the Compact, which will take place on 8th and 9th May 2017.

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May 2017

Strengthening the link between Human Rights and Peacebuilding Through the UPR

Since the beginning of 2017, in close collaboration with the Human Rights and Refugees programme and our colleagues at QUNO New York, the Peace and Disarmament programme has been working on a project linking human rights and sustaining peace. The yearlong project aims to strengthen the links between the peacebuilding and human rights communities within the UN and on the ground through the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a UN  process that reviews the human rights records of all 193 UN member States in a five-year cycle. The UPR was designed as a mechanism to improve the human rights situation in every country by encouraging and supporting states to effectively implement and protect human rights at every level. To support this process, information from UN agencies and civil society organisations are compiled to provide recommendations to the state under review and background for other states to create recommendations and questions.

For our project, we have chosen six test case countries, each facing particular challenges to differing degrees in human rights, conflict and violence from the Syria in the throes of war to Guatemala facing chronic and destabilising violence. For the upcoming UPR Sessions, we chose to focus on Indonesia and Brazil and we invited two peacebuilding civil society representatives - Ruslan from KOMPAK (Kupang Peacemakers) in Indonesia and Ivan Marques from Sou da Paz in Brazil- to attend briefing sessions for diplomats and off the record meetings organised by QUNO in Geneva. They were able  to discuss their work and explore ways in which the UPR could better support peacebuilding and violence reduction and elimination.

Both organisations produced briefing documents, highlighting their work around peacebuilding and human rights, country specific issues and key recommendations targeted toward their respective countries that can be used for the upcoming UPR Sessions in May.

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May 2017

QUNO co-hosted a side event at the UNFCCC Climate Change Conference

On the opening day of the UNFCCC Climate Change Conference (SB46) in Bonn, QUNO co-hosted a side event titled, ‘A Negotiator's tool kit: Engaging Ministries with effective arguments for urgent climate action’.  The event, co-hosted with DeMontfort University, Newcastle University and the Brahma Kumaris, with our Human Impacts of Climate Change Representative, Lindsey Fielder Cook, who moderated the discussion. 

The aim of the side event was to support negotiators’ work to convince their respective and busy Ministries of the need for urgent action, by offering a wide range of clear and concise arguments for urgent climate action from the perspectives of climate science, peace and security, economics, food security, civil society engagement, human rights, ethics, and seasoned negotiator experience.  

For those who were unable to attend or missed the live stream, the event was recorded. Unfortunately, the sound does not work, however you will still be able to see the PowerPoint presentations used by our speakers. Please follow this link to watch the event.

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April 2017

QUNO input to informal Pre-Glion policy dialogue on Human Rights and Prevention at the UN

As part of QUNO's ongoing efforts to link human rights and sustaining peace at the UN level, Diane Hendrick spoke at an informal policy dialogue preceding the Glion Human Rights dialogue 2017 (Glion IV). This dialogue was co-hosted by the Permanent Mission of Morocco to the UNOG and the Universal Rights Group (URG) on 27 April 2017.

The Human Rights Council has a prevention mandate (as set by paragraph 5f of GA resolution 60/251) and the discussions sought to see where this fits within the UN’s broader prevention efforts. The new UN Secretary-General has repeatedly called on the UN to strengthen its prevention capacity, and undertaken reforms that make this a good moment to push for more effective linking of human rights and sustaining peace throughout the UN institutions.

Diane presented some ideas generated from previous expert consultations on this topic at the meeting and co-hosted with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES). She highlighted the opportunities for developing the role of human rights within the Peacebuilding Commission. Ideas and views generated during the dialogues were fed into a high-level informal retreat in Glion during May 2017.

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April 2017

QUNO Food & Sustainability Programme Attended the ECE Regional Forum on Sustainable Development

On April 25, 2017, Food & Sustainability Programme Assistant Nora Meier attended the UNECE Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (RFSD). One day prior to that event, she also followed the preparatory civil society consultation at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, where she was able to connect with organizations from the region.

The RFSD followed up on and reviewed the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the UNECE region while focusing on practical value-added and peer learning. During the one-day event, states, civil society and the private sector shared policy solutions, best practices and challenges from their experiences in SDG implementation and helped identifying major regional and subregional trends. The meeting also convened three roundtables on national and local adaptation of SDGs; subregional cooperation for SDG implementation; and on data and monitoring.

In light of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) to be taking place in July in New York, QUNO was interested to learn about the progresses made and processes implemented, in particular as they relate to SDGs 1, 2, 3, 13, 15, and 16.  

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April 2017

QUNO takes part in a Dialogue and Exchange Program on Somalia Refugees

“During my tenure, I hope to move towards a time where refugee camps are no more”.

Amb. Mohammed Affey, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ Special Envoy for the Refugee situation in Somalia, stated this goal in his opening remarks at the American Friends Service Committee’s Dialogue and Exchange Program (DEP) focusing on Somalia Refugees. QUNO participated in the timely meeting, which took place on April 3rd - 5th, 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya. The meeting brought civil society, and government, regional body, and UN representatives together to share perspectives on issues surrounding forcibly displaced populations. Through interactive group work sessions, participants explored the implications of voluntary return, local integration, and resettlement of refugees and internally displaced people. During the three days, it was acknowledged that despite the limited resources in the horn of Africa, it’s the region that produces and hosts the most refugees globally.

QUNO’s UN Representative and Program Assistant working on the Prevention of Violent Conflict Program, Rachel Madenyika and Hafsa Maalim, participated in the DEP, including through leading on the reporting of group session outcomes to the plenary. QUNO staff shared perspectives on actions that could be taken by asylum and host countries to ensure protection of refugees, as well as reported on the challenges facing local integration efforts for refugee populations. QUNO staff also highlighted potential entry points to overcome such challenges, including the development of trauma healing and reconciliation programs that can bring communities together.

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April 2017

6th World Congress Against the Death Penalty: new publication and website

The Quaker United Nations Office works on children of parents sentenced to death or executed first and foremost because we believe that such children should not be forgotten and their rights should be upheld.  The 2016 World Congress Against the Death Penalty recognized that the impact of a death sentence on the children of parents sentenced to death or executed represents a powerful argument against the death penalty.

This was the message QUNO brought to last year’s World Congress Against the Death Penalty, the details of which have been brought together in a new publication and website. The 6th The Congress was held in Oslo in June 2016 and was attended by QUNO’s Human Rights and Refugees team. The Congress, convened by Ensemble contre la peine de mort (ECPM), is held every three years to bring together those working towards the abolition of the death penalty worldwide.

The new report and website feature an article written by QUNO’s Laurel Townhead, highlighting the significant and often devastating impacts on children whose parents are sentenced to death or executed, and explaining why this can be a used as a strong argument for abolition. QUNO also wrote a briefing paper on children of parents sentenced to death or executed ahead of the event, which provides more detail on this issue.

QUNO continues to work to raise the profile of children of parents facing the death penalty at the international level. In particular, our written statement to the 34th session of the Human Rights Council held in March this year examines how children of parents sentenced to death or executed may be considered victims of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. We also look forward to participating in the next World Congress, due to take place in 2019.

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April 2017

Expectations for a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration: New paper

QUNO is closely following the process for negotiating a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. This process part of the UN’s response to the large numbers of people on the move around the world. The Global Compact was mandated by the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, a high-level statement adopted by States on 19th September and is due to be adopted in September 2018.

Following the adoption on 6 April of General Assembly resolution 71/280 on the modalities for developing a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, QUNO has prepared a short paper on expectations of the process.  This contains the steps which we believe are needed to support the adoption of a human rights based Global Compact (as called for in the New York Declaration and the modalities resolution). 

QUNO’s previous paper on the Compact, on input to the modalities resolution, is here.

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March 2017

QUNO deliveres statement on climate change and child rights at the 34th Session of the Human Rights Council

QUNO climate change programme delivered an oral statement at the 34th Session of the Human Rights Council during the Panel Discussion on Climate Change and the Rights of the Child. QUNO welcomed this panel discussion, for at its heart, climate change is an intergenerational justice concern.

Our statement referred to the root causes of climate change caused by human activities. We briefly described how current rates of temperature rise and species extinction, as well as the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere are unprecedented in our human history.  Drawing on elements from other QUNO programmes, and we highlighted the interconnection between climate change and human rights as well as peace, noting that rising temperatures have serious repercussions on sustaining peace.

However, our message was not to create fear, but rather hope and empowerment.  We emphasised that with urgent and fair climate action, catastrophic global temperature rise does not have to happen.  We reiterated the work of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, in particular, the critical role of a rights-based approaches in climate action to establish more coherent, legitimate, and sustainable climate policies. 

The oral statement, delivered by Cassandra Moll, Peacebuilding and Climate Change Programme Assistant, can be found at 1:32:50 on the video of the panel.

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March 2017

Linking Peacebuilding and Human Rights: QUNO Delivers Oral Statement at the High-Level Mainstreaming Panel

For the 34th Session of the Human Rights Council, QUNO was welcomed the focus of the High-Level Mainstreaming Panel on the “The contribution of human rights to peacebuilding through enhancing dialogue and international cooperation for the promotion of human rights”. QUNO has longstanding programmes on both Peace and Disarmament and Human Rights and Refugees with relation to the UN and has been working for several years, in collaboration with our colleagues in New York, specifically to promote and strengthen the link between human rights, peacebuilding, and sustaining peace.

In light of the panel’s focus on peacebuilding and human rights, the Peace and Disarmament programme submitted a written statement and made an oral statement. Both statements, provided several recommendations to address the fragmentation in the UN system to improve the work on effective prevention of both human rights violations and destructive conflict, with our core message addressing the importance of better collaboration between the human rights and peacebuilding communities, to support long-term sustainable peace.

Our statements, highlighted recent progress in the UN, as the term sustaining peace was used in the parallel Security Council and General Assembly resolutions on the review of the UN peacebuilding Architecture. The resolutions emphasise the importance of addressing root causes of destructive conflict and recognises that the peacebuilding process occurs through all stages of the conflict cycle (before, during and after), which need to be continually supported for sustainable peace.

The oral statement, delivered by Diane Hendrick, Peace and Disarmament Representative at the Mainstreaming Panel, can be found at 1:49:30 on the video of the panel.

The written statement can be found below.

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March 2017

QUNO’s Food & Sustainability Releases Three New Publications

Programme Representative Susan H. Bragdon authored three new publications, which were published in March 2017 and are now available online as well as in hard copy.

Are Small-scale Farmers at the Table? Reflections on Small-scale Farmers’ Participation in Global and National Decision-Making provides background and perspective on small-scale farmer representation in international discussions related to food and nutrition security, innovation, climate change, human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals; and makes six recommendations for how multilateral institutions that host negotiations or dialogues can encourage and facilitate the participation of small-scale farmers.

The Foundations of Food Security – Ensuring Support to Small-scale Farmers Managing Agricultural Biodiversity argues that the access and benefit-sharing (ABS) agreements established by the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, the Convention on Biological Diversity, or the Nagoya Protocol are, and will continue to be, insufficient for generating the benefit necessary to support the innovative activities of small-scale farmers in conserving, managing, and actively developing the majority of the world’s plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. 

The Evolution of Rights and Responsibilities over Agricultural Biodiversity explores the concerns driving relevant international instruments with the goal of increasing the understanding needed to achieve coherence and mutual support. The paper concludes with suggestions on how to create a system that supports the critical role that agricultural biodiversity plays in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. 

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