Timeline

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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March 2017

The Time is Ripe for Governments to Strengthen Sustainable and Food-Secure Farming

In November 2016, QUNO hosted an expert consultation on the role of the public sector in supporting small-scale farmers and agricultural biodiversity. Over 15 participants from around the world, representing a variety of professional backgrounds, convened to discuss how best to assist governments in determining their roles in ensuring food security and to develop tools for the public sector to create national food policies with small-scale farmers and agricultural biodiversity at their center. 

One of the outputs of this consultation is The Time is Ripe for Governments to Strengthen Sustainable and Food-Secure Farming, a call-to-action for the international community to mobilize resources for a more proactive role of the public sector in supporting small-scale farmers, their seed systems and the protection of agricultural biodiversity. Furthermore, the paper calls upon national governments to engage in consultation with small-scale farmers to identify what they require in order to effectively engage in activities to support the conversation and sustainable use of biodiversity and to achieve secure livelihoods.

QUNO would like to thank all the participants for their valuable contributions in making this collaborative effort possible. 

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March 2017

QUNO Submits Written Input to the Berlin Charter on Rural Development and Food Security

In March, QUNO submitted a written contribution to The Berlin Charter on rural development and food security that emphasized the importance of small-scale farmers as an agent of change. Support for small-scall farmers is particularly important in the context of rural development and the need to make rural life and the activities of small-scale farmers an attractive option to youth. The Federal German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) invited an international group of high-level experts to develop the The Berlin Charter, which will be presented as an input to the BMZ International Conference on Rural Development entitled One Hunger, Future of the Rural World. This conference will be held in Berlin on April 27-28, 2017.

The Berlin Charter highlights major global trends, challenges and in particular arising opportunities for rural areas. Its aim is to portray a modern and innovation-driven development vision of the rural world, closing with a call for action to the international development community. The Charter is intended to motivate decision-makers to step up to support rural development. More broadly, the Charter is supposed to serve as a roadmap and an inspiration and finally as a reminder of how important rural development is for achieving sustainable global development.

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March 2017

QUNO Submits Written Input to Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food in Humanitarian Contexts

In March 2017, QUNO attended an informal discussion on the Right to Food in humanitarian contexts organized by the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Ms. Hilal Elver. Our Food & Sustainability and Peace and Disarmament programmes submitted a joint statement emphasizing the importance of agricultural biodiversity, small-scale farmers, and informal seed systems in humanitarian contexts. QUNO highlighted that resilience is central to any sustained response to food insecurity in crises or crises-prone situations and small-scale farmers and agricultural biodiversity are central to resilience. Therefore, thoughtful and targeted rehabilitation is necessary to build and consolidate peace while contributing to food security and rural development after a humanitarian crisis has subsided. The full statement is available below.

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March 2017

Prevention and Mediation: Towards More Effective Collaborative Approaches and Strategies for Sustaining Peace

On March 28th, the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform hosted a meeting entitled "Prevention and Mediation: Towards More Effective Collaborative Approaches and Strategies for Sustaining Peace." This meeting was in collaboration with the Mediation Support Network, a global network of twenty-one non-governmental organizations that support mediation in peace negotiations.

QUNO co-facilitates the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform, which aims to support the UN’s prevention agenda by strengthening coordination and information sharing between civil society and the UN. This meeting provided the Platform with an opportunity to use its diverse network to better inform the conversation on harnessing the synergies between prevention and mediation.   

The Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform brought together UN actors, civil society organizations, and member states to discuss concrete examples of how civil society actors are promoting mediation and prevention practices and processes in addressing political tensions and armed conflict.

To open the discussion, a few members of the Mediation Support Network shared their experiences using examples from Colombia, Myanmar and Mexico. The participants highlighted the role of civil society in armed conflict and the important role they play in bridging UN actors and the local people. The use of mediation as an early warning tool was echoed in several presentations. One of the major challenges highlighted was that it was difficult for societies to transition into peace if they are not used to living in peace. Therefore, due to the ever-changing nature of conflict, the participants agreed that innovative measures of mediation are more important than ever. 

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March 2017

QUNO and the Centre for International Cooperation Cohost a Discussion on the 'Roadmap for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies'

On 15 March, QUNO and the Center for International Cooperation (CIC) of New York University cohosted a meeting at Quaker House where CIC presented a discussion paper: Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies: A Call to Action to Change our World. The meeting encouraged an in-depth discussion of the paper’s proposals and their overall expected impact, and participants shared their insights and expertise with the authors.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development declares, “there can be no sustainable development without peace, and no peace without sustainable development.” While SDG 16 seeks to “foster peaceful, just, and inclusive societies,” there are strong links and connections across many of the Agenda’s goals that, together, contribute towards the promotion of peace, justice, and inclusivity. The linkages between these different goals have often become referred to as “SDG16+.” The interconnected and universal nature of the SDGs was a key point made by Mr. Andrew Tomlinson, UN Representative and QUNO Director, who facilitated the meeting’s discussion. Mr. Tomlinson also reflected on how moving the 2030 Agenda forward, particularly SDG16+, has the potential to be transformative for global affairs, and have the most far reaching impact across people’s lives throughout the world.

Participants discussed how the paper aims to provide a starting point for a roadmap to achieve the 2030 Agenda’s “peaceful, just and inclusive societies” mandate, which seeks to turn the ambition of the SDG16+ targets into reality. During the meeting, Mr. David Steven of CIC provided an overview of why a roadmap is needed and what impact it can deliver, setting out several recommendations for its structure and content. This roadmap process is being led by The Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, a group of UN member states, international organizations, and other partners, convened by the governments of Brazil, Sierra Leone and Switzerland, in cooperation with CIC.

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March 2017

QUNO Food & Sustainability Programme Delivers Oral Statement at Human Rights Council

The Clustered Interactive Dialogue (ID) on Sustainable Environment and on the Right to Food was held at the 34th session of the Human Rights Council. During the event, both the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, Mr. John Knox, and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Ms. Hilal Elver, presented their findings.

In an oral statement, delivered by Nora Meier, Programme Assistant for Food & Sustainability at the Interactive Dialogue, we commended Mr. Knox for his report and thanked him for recognizing the explicit connection between agricultural biodiversity and global food and nutrition security and the ability to adapt to climate change and other abiotic and biotic stressors. Furthermore, we highlighted that industrial agriculture is the largest driver of biodiversity loss and causing harm to the health of people and our planet. We ended our oral statement by asking Mr. Knox: “What action should States take separately and jointly to support the role of small-scale farmers in managing agricultural biodiversity in order to mitigate and prevent the negative impact on enjoyment of human rights arising from loss of biodiversity?”

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March 2017

A focus on the human rights of migrants at the Human Rights Council's 34th Session

The 34th Session of the Human Rights Council concluded on 24th March. During the session there were some important discussions and decisions relating to the human rights of migrants, an issue we are working on closely. 

On 10th March the Human Rights Council held an Enhanced Interactive Dialogue on the human rights of migrants in the context of large movements. This was the first time that the Council held a discussion dedicated to migrants’ human rights after the September 2016 adoption of the New York Declaration on refugees and migrants, and its initiation of the development of a Global Compact on safe, orderly and regular migration. The Declaration – a high level political statement, and the Global Compact - a proposed new State-negotiated international framework - represent important shifts in how the international community addresses human mobility and displacement. As such, the Human Rights Council’s discussion came at an important time, giving it an opportunity to speak to the role of human rights within this new international agenda.

Peggy Hicks, Director of the Thematic Engagement, Special Procedures and Right to Development Division of the Office of the High Commissioner, stated during the discussion:

'The international community has an unprecedented opportunity in the next two years to... learn from the experience of migrants, and to build a Global Compact that provides safe, rights respecting migration, and to ensure that future generations are spared the hell of desperate, precarious journeys.' 

QUNO followed this discussion closely, and we co-signed a joint oral statement that was delivered during the debate (attached). Our current priority is for the Council to play its part in making sure that the Global Compact is people-centred and underpinned by and consistent with international human rights law.

We also prepared a Briefing for Friends that examines these UN initiatives in more detail. It further describes how we are actively engaged in this work, as well as ways that Friends around the world can engage with, and benefit from these UN level initiatives.  

Laurel Townhead, Representative for Human Rights and Refugees delivered two statements for QUNO related to the human rights of migrants during the session. 

1. The first statement welcomed a set of Principles and Guidelines on the human rights protection of migrants in vulnerable situations and within large and/or mixed movements, developed by the Global Migration Group, and called on States to endorse them. See here for the video of the statement (number 59 on right hand panel).

2. The second statement called for a human rights basis to the Global Compact on safe, orderly and regular migration, with a particular focus on the importance of the role of existing UN human rights mechanisms in its development. See here for the video of the statement (number 25 on right hand panel).

QUNO was also pleased that the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants was renewed in a resolution at this session. Finally, we further welcome the decision of the Mexican mission to run a substantive resolution on the human rights of migrants in the June session of the Human Rights Council.

Looking ahead, we encourage sustained attention to this issue by the UN human rights mechanisms, particularly in light of the upcoming consultations for the Global Compact on safe, orderly and regular migration.

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