Timeline

August 2014

QUNO raises the rights of prisoners and their families at the 27th session of the UN Human Rights Council

QUNO has raised the issue of the rights of the families of persons deprived of their liberty and of children of parents sentenced to death at the 27th Session of the UN Human Rights Council.  These issues have been raised by QUNO in the General Debate and in the Panel on the Human Rights of Persons Deprived of their Liberty. This Panel was the first time the Council has dedicated time to considering the full range of human rights violations experienced by people in detention and made reference to the impact on their families including their children. 

Laurel Townhead, Representative for Human Rights and Refugees, delivered three oral statements, on the topics of women in prisons, older prisoners and children of parents sentenced to death or executed. Video of the three statements are available below:

  • Statement on women in prison given at the Panel on Persons Deprived of their Liberty
    (statement begins at 01:24:00)
  • Statement on children of parents sentenced to death at the General Debate
    (statement begins at 00:07:00) 

     

  • Statement given at the Interactive Dialogue with Independent Expert on Older Persons.
    (statement begins at 01:48:11)

 

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August 2014

QUNO speaks at the first International Peace-Builders’ Forum

Diane Hendrick spoke to an international audience at the first International Peace-Builders’ Forum organised by Initiatives of Change and the Institute for Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding (ICP) at Caux, Switzerland, on 11 August 2014. The theme of the panel discussion was “Connecting Personal and Systemic Change in Peacebuilding” and also on the panel were Michelle Breslauer, the Vice President of US Programmes of the Institute of Economics and Peace; Professor Barry Hart of Eastern Mennonite University; and Daphrose Ntarataze of  the Initiatives of Change Creators of Peace project.

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July 2014

Open Letter regarding the Outcome Document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples

QUNO partners, Amnesty International and the Canadian Friends Service Committee (CFSC), have written an open letter regarding the Outcome Document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples to be held in New York in September. The letter expresses concern at developments in the run-up to the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples that appear to run against this principle of participation of representatives of Indigenous Peoples. They also express concern at statements by member states during consultations around the document, that appear to be aimed at weakening the rights contained in the Declaration, and the status of the Declaration itself.

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July 2014

QUNO hosts side event at the Aarhus Convention's Meeting of the Parties on "Building peace through environmental access rights"

QUNO  organized a side event on "Building peace through environmental access rights: preventing conflict around water, land and food" (download the briefing paper below) on Tuesday, July 1, at the Meeting of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention.

Aarhus is a UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention linking environmental rights and human rights, focusing on the interactions between the public and public authorities. With the help of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), QUNO was able to bring Khin Thida Tin, from the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry in Myanmar and Hou Jiaru from the China University of Political Science and Law, to join Harry Jonas of Natural Justice and Lynn Finnegan of QUNO to discuss the preconditions for effective public participation around natural resource management, as a means of preventing destructive conflict and promoting equitable and peaceful natural resource management.

 

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June 2014

QUNO hosts discussion on Peaceland book

QUNO hosted an informal discussion at Quaker House in New York for Dr. Severine Autesserre from Barnard College to share the findings of her new book Peaceland: Conflict Resolution and the Everyday Politics of International Intervention. Peaceland offers a fascinating new explanation for why international peace interventions often do not reach their full potential. Through field-based research in conflict zones around the world, Dr. Autesserre demonstrates how normal everyday habits, practices, and personal narratives can influence the way in which peacebuilding is done on the ground.

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June 2014

QUNO Contributes to Peacebuilding Commission Annual Session

QUNO was invited to participate in the first ever UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) Annual Session in New York on June 23rd, which focused on Sustainable support for peacebuilding: the domestic and international aspects. Andrew Tomlinson, QUNO Director, made comments in the workshop sessions on “The importance of inclusion, transparency and consultation in revenue mobilization” and “Long-term accompaniment of societies in transition: a role for the PBC?”

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June 2014

QUNO hosts photo exhibit This Light That Pushes Me: Stories of African Peacebuilders

QUNO hosted an evening reception for the photography exhibition, This Light That Pushes Me: Stories of African Peacebuilders at Quaker House in New York. This photography exhibition highlights African Quaker peacebuilders from nine sub-Saharan African countries who have all experienced some form of violence and are now working for peace in their local communities. The exhibition, and accompanying book, trace the journeys that have transformed that suffering into a force for social change. In addition to colleagues and friends from the UN, QUNO was very pleased to be joined by Adrien Niyongabo from the local organization Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities (HROC) in Burundi, who is one of the Quaker African peacebuilders featured in the exhibition and book. 

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May 2014

QUNO participates in Transatlantic Civil Society Dialogue on Security and Development

QUNO was invited to participate in the Transatlantic Civil Society Dialogue on Security and Development, a civil society process accompanying the EU-US High Level Consultative Group on Development. The outcome document has now been published as “Improving transatlantic approaches to fragile and conflict-affected states.”

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May 2014

QUNO hosts Canadian Friends at UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples

QUNO New York is hosting the Canadian Friends Service Committee for the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues as they continue their dedicated work at this Forum. Pictured are CSFC members Jennifer Preston and Monica Walters-Field, as well as QUNO programme assistant Rachel Singleton-Polster who previously served with CFSC.

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May 2014

Meeting of the European Bureau of Conscientious Objectors in Brussels

QUNO attended the meeting of the European Bureau of Conscientious Objectors in Brussels. At the meeting, QUNO reported on recent developments at the United Nations regarding the right of conscientious objection to military service. In particular, QUNO highlighted new Guidelines on International Protection issued in December 2013 by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which focus specifically on claims to refugee status related to military service. In addition, Emily Graham from QUNO discussed the practical implications of refusing military service, focusing on the lack of necessary identity documentation and discrimination. 
 

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May 2014

UN Commission on Crime Prevention & Criminal Justice: Side-event on the wider impacts of the death penalty

In May, QUNO attended the annual UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) in Vienna with other representatives from the Friends World Committee for Consultation (Quakers). At the CCPCJ, FWCC co-sponsored a side-event with Amnesty International and Penal Reform International on the wider impacts of the death penalty. Rachel Brett drew attention specifically to the children of parents who have been sentenced to the death penalty. 

At this event, QUNO screened a new video on children of parents sentenced to death, which was prepared with the Child Rights Connect Working Group on Children of Incarcerated Parents. We also launched a new publication, entitled Children of Parents Sentenced to the Death Penalty or Executed: Developments, Good Practices and Next Steps. 

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May 2014

Revision of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners

The UN Standard Minimum Rules on the Treatment of Prisoners (SMRs) are the reference for national authorities on how prisoners should be treated. However, they were adopted in the 1950s and, though good, need updating. In our work, QUNO has identified a need for reviewing the SMRs, and supports the ongoing process for revision. Since the adoption of the SMRs, new standards relating to the treatment of prisoners have been developed, including relevant human rights treaties. In 2010, the SMRs were supplemented by Rules specifically focussed on women prisoners (known as the Bangkok Rules) in whose development QUNO was involved. More recently, a process started to update the SMRs themselves.

The UN Commission on Crime Prevention & Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) has agreed to extend the mandate to revise the Standard Minimum Rules (SMRs) for the Treatment of Prisoners (SMR). The CCPCJ maintained the commitment that any changes must not lower existing standards. An expert meeting will be convened, probably in the Autumn, to continue to revise the SMRs, with the involvement of non-governmental organizations, like the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC). 
 

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May 2014

UN Commission on Crime Prevention & Criminal Justice (CCPCJ): Elimination of Violence against Children

QUNO welcomes the CCPCJ adoption of the United Nations Model Strategies and Practical Measures on the Elimination of Violence against Children in the Field of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, whose scope includes children of incarcerated parents.

The Model Strategies and Practical Measures are intended to help States in developing integrated strategies for violence prevention and child protection. In summation, they consider that the justice system has a complementary role to the child protection, social welfare, health and education sectors, in creating a protective environment and in preventing and responding to violence against children.
 

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March 2014

QUNO co-hosted lunch discussion on the topic of "Reconciliation and Inclusion" towards sustainable peace"

Quaker House was joined by two members of the Club de Madrid on 11 February for an engaging discussion with Member States and key UN actors. The Club is an international organization of former heads of state working together for democratic leadership and governance. This meeting followed a thematic debate in the Security Council on the topic of “War, its lessons, and the search for a permanent peace.” 

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March 2014

Judge quotes QUNO’s work in British Columbia Supreme Court judgement, Inglis v. British Columbia

In December, The Supreme Court in British Columbia, Canada, overturned a decision to close the mother and baby unit at Alouette Correctional Centre for Women, on the grounds that it violated the rights of both the mothers and the babies. In the judgement, Justice Ross quoted QUNO’s publication Collateral Convicts, by Oliver Robertson. In addition, one of the experts cited the Kyiv Declaration on Women’s Health in Prison, in which QUNO and other Friends were involved. 

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March 2014

QUNO co-sponsors 'Conscientious Objection to Military Service: Challenges and International Responses' Human Rights Council side event

At the 25th session of the Human Rights Council, QUNO co-sponsored a side-event entitled “Conscientious Objection to Military Service: Challenges and International Responses”, with the Permanent Missions of Costa Rica, Croatia and Poland. During this side event, which was moderated by Rachel Brett from QUNO, the panellists explored different elements of the right to conscientious objection. The Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Heiner Bielefeldt, addressed the philosophical underpinnings of conscience and the right to conscientious objection. Sir Nigel Rodley, the Chairperson of the Human Rights Committee, discussed developments within the Committee regarding conscientious objection. The third speaker, Emily Graham from QUNO addressed the practical implications of refusing military service, including prosecution and imprisonment but also fines, lack of necessary identity documentation and discrimination.

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March 2014

QUNO organizes a side event at Human Rights Council on “Procedural Rights and the Environment: Preventing conflict around water, land and food"

In March, QUNO organized a side event at the Human Rights Council on “Procedural Rights and the Environment: Preventing conflict around water, land and food". Procedural rights include the right to information, public participation in decision-making and right to remedy and complement substantive rights such as the right to life or the right to food. Jonathan Woolley of QUNO chaired the event and the Permanent Representatives of Ethiopia and Chile to the UN in Geneva spoke on existing and planned legal frameworks relating to the environment in Africa and Latin America, respectively. Diane Hendrick for QUNO spoke on the role of peacebuilding approaches in preparing for the effective exercise of procedural rights and the importance of the latter in preventing destructive conflict. Andrea Iff of swisspeace discussed the relevance of these rights for conflict sensitive engagement by businesses.  

Further background on the side event is available in the "Concept note" PDF available below.

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March 2014

QUNO contributes to AFSC article on Syrian women’s participation in peace processes

March marks women’s history month, and at the UN is the very busy time of the Commission on the Status of Women. QUNO New York staff contributed the UN perspective to this article produced by American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), highlighting the importance of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security, among other international tools for the inclusion of women in peacebuilding.

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March 2014

QUNO participated in Open Working Group 8 on the Sustainable Development Goals

Quaker House welcomed many guests during the Eighth Session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals. QUNO and our colleagues focused on the topic of conflict prevention, post-conflict peacebuilding and the promotion of durable peace, rule of law and governance within the proposed framework for development post-2015 by engaging with side events and making statements.

We were glad to host colleagues from the Alliance for Peacebuilding and from The Africa Civil Society Platform on Principled Partnership, pictured here.

Andrew Tomlinson, QUNO-NY Director, made a statement to the co-chairs of the OWG, which can be read here (under the title “Peace: getting to the heart of sustainable development”) , and also viewed online (starting at 39:40mins). 

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