crimes against humanity

72nd Session of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner {for Refugees’s} Programme

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in line with the guidelines issued by the Swiss Federal Council, the cantonal authorities and the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), the seventy-second session of the Executive Committee (ExCom) is expected to be a limited in-person event, with remote participation also available. The in-person event will take place in room XIX at the Palais des Nations.

Interested participants can learn more here: unhcr.org/2021-executive-committee-session.html

Remote participation will be facilitated through Interprefy. Please note that the Interprefy platform should only be used for speakers. Those observing the event remotely will be able to access the webcast on the session webpage as usual.

Program:

  1. Opening of the session, adoption of the agenda and other organizational matters.
  2. Statement by the High Commissioner.
  3.  General debate.
  4. Consideration of reports on the work of the Standing Committee:
    (a) International protection;
    (b) Programme budgets, management, financial control and administrative
    oversight.
  5. Consideration of reports relating to programme and administrative oversight and
    evaluation.
  6. Consideration and adoption of the programme budget for 2022.
  7. Review of the consultations with non-governmental organizations.
  8. Other statements.
  9. Meetings of the Standing Committee in 2022.
  10. Consideration of the provisional agenda of the seventy-third session of the Executive
    Committee.
  11. Election of officers.
  12. Any other business.
  13. Adoption of the report of the seventy-second session of the Executive Committee.
  14. Closing of the session.

View the full provisional agenda and annotations here: https://www.unhcr.org/60fade424

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bknotts@uua.org or bobbinassar@gmail.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Social Development, please visit ngosocdev.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Migration, please visit ngo-migration.org.

The Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone Treaty: Protocol and the Way Forward

The Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (SEANWFZ Treaty) was signed in Bangkok on 15 December 1995 by 10 Southeast Asian States (ASEAN Member States) and entered into force on 27 March 1997, committing the region to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation in line with the 1971 Declaration on the Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN). The webinar falls under the implementation of Action 5 of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres’ Agenda for Disarmament: Securing Our Common Future, which aims to strengthen and consolidate nuclear-weapon-free zones, including by facilitating enhanced cooperation and consultation between existing zones, encouraging nuclear-weapon States (NWS) to adhere to the relevant protocols to the treaties establishing such zones.

Co-organized by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs and the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, this event aims to raise awareness on the issue of the SEANWFZ Treaty and to generate ideas for accelerating the signing and ratification of the Protocol to the Treaty by the NWS.

The webinar is open for participation by New York, Geneva and Vienna-based diplomats, academia and representatives of civil society. Speakers will engage in a moderated discussion representing different perspectives on the challenges surrounding implementation of the SEANWFZ, followed by a Q&A session with the audience.

Register here!

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, please visit facebook.com/NGOCoRIP.

International Day Against Nuclear Tests

Since nuclear weapons testing began on 16 July 1945, over 2,000 have taken place. In the early days of nuclear testing little consideration was given to its devastating effects on human life, let alone the dangers of nuclear fallout from atmospheric tests. Hindsight and history have shown us the terrifying and tragic effects of nuclear weapons testing, especially when controlled conditions go awry, and in light of the far more powerful and destructive nuclear weapons that exist today.

On 2 December 2009, the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly declared 29 August the International Day against Nuclear Tests by unanimously adopting resolution 64/35. The resolution calls for increasing awareness and education “about the effects of nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions and the need for their cessation as one of the means of achieving the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.” The resolution was initiated by the Republic of Kazakhstan, together with a large number of sponsors and cosponsors with a view to commemorating the closure of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test site on 29 August 1991.

2010 marked the inaugural commemoration of the International Day against Nuclear Tests. In each subsequent year, the day has been observed by coordinating various activities throughout the world, such as symposia, conferences, exhibits, competitions, publications, lectures, media broadcasts and other initiatives.

Since its establishment, many bilateral and multilateral governmental level developments as well as broad movements in civil society have helped to advance the cause of banning nuclear tests.

Moreover, “convinced that nuclear disarmament and the total elimination of nuclear weapons are the only absolute guarantee against the use or threat of nuclear weapons,” the General Assembly designated 26 September as the “International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons”, which is devoted to furthering the objective of the total elimination of nuclear weapons, through the mobilization of international efforts. The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons was observed for the first time in September 2014. The International Day against Nuclear Tests, together with other events and actions, has fostered a global environment that strongly advocates for a world free of nuclear weapons.

The international instrument to put an end to all forms of nuclear testing is the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). Unfortunately, this has yet to enter into force.

As the Secretary-General recognized in his disarmament agenda “Securing our Common Future” launched on 24 May 2018, the norm against testing is an example of a measure that serves both disarmament and non-proliferation objectives. By constraining the development of advanced new types of nuclear weapons, the CTBT puts a brake on the arms race. It also serves as a powerful normative barrier against potential States that might seek to develop, manufacture and subsequently acquire nuclear weapons in violation of their non-proliferation commitments.

Every effort needs to be made to ensure the entry into force of the CTBT and to preserve its place in the international architecture. In this regard, the Secretary-General appeals to all remaining States whose ratifications are required for the CTBT to enter into force to commit to sign the Treaty at an early date if they have not already done so, and to accelerate the completion of their ratification processes.

It is the hope of the UN that one day all nuclear weapons will be eliminated. Until then, there is a need to observe International Day against Nuclear Tests as the world works towards promoting peace and security.

To learn more about the background and significance of this observance, please visit un.org/en/observances/end-nuclear-tests-day.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, please visit facebook.com/NGOCoRIP. For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bobbinassar@gmail.com or bknotts@uua.org. 

The Firearms Protocol and the Programme of Action on small arms turn 20

A Double Anniversary: The Firearms Protocol and the Programme of Action on small arms turn 20

2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons and the Firearms Protocol. To celebrate this double anniversary, the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) invite you to a joint high-level side event on the continued importance of the two instruments, a reflection on past achievements and challenges, and thoughts on the way forward in the framework of the Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The event will also feature voices from around the world through interactive video contributions.

Register here!

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Financing for Development, please visit ngosonffd.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bknotts@uua.org. or bobbinassar@gmail.com. 

Memory at risk: the importance of genocide archives for justice, remembrance, research and education

Beyond the long shadow: engaging with difficult histories is a live discussion series organized by the United Nations Department of Global Communications. The series is organized by the Outreach Programme on the transatlantic slave trade and slaverythe Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, and the Outreach Programme on the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda and the United Nations. The aim of the collaborative series is to develop a deeper understanding of the legacies of these painful histories – and through examining the past, consider how best to build a world that is just, where all can live in dignity and peace.

Join us for the 5th installment of this Live Discussion Series:

Memory at risk: the importance of genocide archives for justice, remembrance, research and education

Archives play a crucial role in genocide remembrance and education and have been essential for legal procedures and conflict transformation processes in the aftermath of genocide. Establishing comprehensive archives in post-genocide societies can be a challenge, as well as ensuring the continuous preservation of artifacts and documents, and their accessibility to the public.

In a context of increasing disinformation, archives as places of authentic historical information, are an important counterbalance to narratives that seek to distort or deny genocidal pasts and form an important basis for informed research and education.

Register here: https://unesco-org.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_R2NKoD1CR2aIVHXygJKYVA

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Education, Learning, and Literacy, please visit facebook.com/NGOCELLatUN. For more information on the NGO Committee on Social Development, please visit ngosocdev.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com.

Hybrid Commemoration of the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda

Dear NGO representatives,

The Permanent Mission of the Republic of Rwanda and the United Nations Office at Geneva will mark the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda during a hybrid ceremony to be held on Wednesday, 7 April 2021 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The ceremony will include the message of Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, read by Ms. Tatiana Valovaya, Director‑General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, followed by her own remarks and the statements of Ms. Ghada Waly, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna and Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, of H.E. Mrs. Marie Chantal Rwakazina, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Rwanda to the United Nations Office and other international organizations at Geneva, of Mrs. Nadia Galinier, survivor of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda and of Mr. Cesar Murangira, President of the Association of Genocide survivors IBUKA, Memory and Justice (Swiss section). This year’s ceremony will also include a poem read by Ms. Sarah Burckhardt. Interpretation will be provided in English and French.      

You are cordially invited to this important event through this link. You can also watch live at webtv.un.org.

Provisional Program:

  • Introduction by the Master of Ceremonies, Ms. Alessandra Vellucci Director, United Nations Information Service
  • Lighting of candles
  • Observance of a minute of silence
  • Message of Mr. António Guterres Secretary-General of the United Nations, read by Ms. Tatiana Valovaya, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, followed by the Director-General’s remarks
  • Remarks by Ms. Ghada Waly Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna and Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
  • Remarks by Mr. César Murangira President of the Association of Genocide survivors IBUKA, Memory and Justice (Swiss section)
  • Testimony by Mrs. Nadia Galinier Survivor of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda
  • Reading of a poem by Ms. Sarah Burckhardt
  • Remarks by H.E. Mrs. Marie Chantal Rwakazina Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the United Nations Office and other international organizations at Geneva

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bknotts@uua.org or bobbinassar@gmail.com.

The Iran Deal or No Deal

The Iran Nuclear Deal or No Deal

Grassroots organizations from across the country are joining together to present the most recent developments surrounding the JCPOA and what they may mean for the future of Iran and the rest of the Middle East. For those who care about preventing a future war as well as addressing the humanitarian role the U.S. has in Iran, Yemen, and elsewhere, this is the event to join.

Register here: https://secure.everyaction.com/aFVE5ygCQEOMyNrNBjpx_Q2

Featuring:

  • Trita Parsi, Executive Vice President of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
  • Barbara Slavin, Director of the Future of Iran Initiative and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council
  • Kelsey Davenport, Director of Nonproliferation Policy at Arms Control Association
  • Peter Beinart, Professor of Journalism and Political Science at the City University of New York

Moderated by: Jamal Abdi, President of the National Iranian American Council

Note: You are welcome to watch a recording of a previous event (https://fb.watch/3aRHLDJRGL/), which provides a great overview of the topic, but will not be necessary to get the full experience out of this larger event.

This event is co-sponsored by: 

Brooklyn for Peace; CODEPINK; Coloradans for Middle East Diplomacy & Peace; Demand Progress; Friends Committee on National Legislation Colorado Advocacy Team; Friends Committee on National Legislation New York City Advocacy Team; Friends Committee on National Legislation New York State Advocacy Team; Genesee Valley Citizens for Peace; Historians for Peace and Democracy; J Street Colorado; J Street NYC; Jewish Voice for Peace – Denver/Boulder Chapter; Long Island Activists; Long Island Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives; Manhattan Project for a Nuclear Free World; Massachusetts Peace Action; National Iranian American Council; New Jersey Peace Action; New York Progressive Action Network; NYPAN Greene; No War Westchester; North Country Peace Group; PEAC Institute; Peace Action; Peace Action Bay Ridge; Peace Action New York State; Peace & Social Justice Committee of the 15th St. Monthly Meeting, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers); Rethinking Foreign Policy, Inc.; Peace Corps Iran Association; Progressive Democrats of Sussex County (Delaware); Progressive East End Reformers; Rocky Mountain Peace & Justice Center; South Country Peace Group; Suffolk Progressives; Syracuse Peace Council; Upper Hudson Peace Action; WESPAC; Win Without War; Women’s Action for New Directions; and Women’s March.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bknotts@uua.org or bobbinassar@gmail.com. 

Informal Meeting of the GA Plenary on Syria with President of the GA

Dear Civil Society Partners,

The UN Human Rights Office in NY wishes to inform you about an upcoming informal meeting of the plenary of the General Assembly on Tuesday, 2 March 2021, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the General Assembly Hall of the UN Headquarters. The meeting will allow a high-level panel to brief on the human rights situation in the Syrian Arab Republic pursuant to A/RES/74/169. The meeting will be open and webcast on UN Web TV with interpretation in all official languages.

Further information, including with respect to the modalities for interested civil society representatives to submit questions to the high-level panel, is included in the correspondence below from the President of the General Assembly.

Sincerely,

UN Human Rights NY

 

Excellency,

I have the honour to inform you that I will convene an informal meeting of the plenary of the General Assembly on Tuesday, 2 March 2021, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the General Assembly Hall of the UN Headquarters. The meeting will allow a high-level panel to brief the General Assembly pursuant to A/RES/74/169, operative paragraph 37, in which the General Assembly,

“Urgently request[ed] the convening of a high-level panel discussion, funded by voluntary contributions, led by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights, the Commission of Inquiry and Syrian civil society to brief the General Assembly at its seventy-fifth session on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, and encourages United Nations monitoring and reporting to help this panel to further document violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights, including those that may amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes, to provide recommendations to facilitate improvements in civilian protection and accountability measures, and to feature witness testimony of Syrian human rights defenders and other Syrian voices through appropriate and safe means”.

In addition to briefing on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic the panel will focus on:

(i) violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights, including those that may amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes, in particular arbitrary detention, torture, the missing and disappeared, with a focus on women, peace and security; and,

(ii) recommendations to facilitate improvements in civilian protection and accountability measures.

The high-level panel will be moderated by Ms. Ilze Brands Kehris, Assistant SecretaryGeneral for Human Rights and Head, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in New York. Ms. Brands Kehris will also present OHCHR’s role in documentation, accountability, and engagement with key counterparts including the United Nations, humanitarian partners and accountability mechanisms such as the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic (COI), the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM), the Syrian Government, and civil society. The high-level panel will be comprised of the following six panelists from the COI and civil society:

  • Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, Chair, COI
  • Karen Koning AbuZayd, Commissioner, COI
  • Hanny Megally, Commissioner, COI
  • Mazen Darwish, President, Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression;
  • Sabah Hallaq, Syrian League for Citizenship
  • Wafa Moustafa, Families for Freedom.

The meeting will be open and webcast on UN Web TV with interpretation in all official languages. Each panelist will have up to 7 minutes to deliver his/her remarks. The floor will then be open for up to 3-minute interventions and/or questions. Please note that there will be no pre-established list of speakers for this meeting. For planning purposes only, delegations are encouraged to register their interest to speak by 5:00 p.m. EST on Friday, 26 February 2021 via e-mail to Mr. Igor Bondiuk (igor.bondiuk@un.org), Human Rights Adviser, copying Ms. Hila Wesa (wesa@un.org), Team Leader for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs.

Civil society representatives interested in submitting questions to the high-level panel are requested to do so by 5:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, 24 February 2021, via e-email to Ms. Giorgia Passarelli (passarellig@un.org), Human Rights Officer at OHCHR. The moderator will select some of the questions for the panelists to answer during the discussion.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.

Volkan BOZKIR

View this meeting via UN Web TV here on March 2, and read the full schedule of General Assembly Plenary and Related Meetings here.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bknotts@uua.org or bobbinassar@gmail.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com.

Holocaust Education in Crisis? Challenges and Responses

To mark the anniversary of the November 1938 Pogrom, The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme and UNESCO are hosting an online discussion Holocaust education in crisis? Challenges and responses to examine the implications of recent surveys about Holocaust education and possible responses to the challenges and opportunities they raise.
Discussions about Holocaust education usually focus on three main questions: what should be taught, how should it be taught, and to what end? Recent surveys have shown that historical knowledge of the Holocaust is in decline, while related dis- and misinformation is on the rise. Simultaneously, research suggests a connection between students’ positive attitudes towards human rights and activism and their exposure to Holocaust education. Our diverse expert panel considers the implications of this research for their field.
Speakers:

Gretchen Skidmore, Director of Education Initiatives, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, United States

Debórah Dwork, Founding Director, The Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity, Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies, The Graduate Center – CUNY, United States

Stuart Foster, Executive Director of the Center for Holocaust Education, University College London, United Kingdom

Elke Gryglewski, Head of the Educational Department, Memorial and Educational Site House of the Wannsee Conference, Germany

Yael Siman, Associate Professor at the Department of Social and Political Science, Iberoamericana University, Mexico

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations, please visit rngos.wordpress.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief, please visit unforb.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Spirituality, Values, and Global Concerns-NY, please visit csvgc-ny.org. For more information on the Decolonization Alliance, please email President Bautista at lbautista@umcjustice.org.