human rights violations

Nuclear weapons & climate change: Intergenerational action for a sustainable world

UNFOLD ZERO joins our partners Youth Fusion and Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament in inviting you to a unique event Nuclear Weapons and Climate Change on September 9.

The event, which is held in commemoration of the International Day Against Nuclear Tests, brings youth leaders in nuclear abolition and climate action together with legislators, experts and civil society leaders in a dynamic inter-generational dialogue.

Nuclear Weapons and Climate Change will focus on two of our time’s most pressing global challenges: climate change and the threat of nuclear war, as well as the links between them. It is structured as an intergenerational dialogue of youth leaders with legislators, experts, officials and other participants.

This will be a hybrid event with some speakers and invited guests participating in-person at the event hub, while most others will participate online.

Time: 2-4pm London / 9-11am Eastern Time USA / 3-5pm Central Europe / 7-9pm Kazakhstan

UNFOLD ZERO is a platform for United Nations (UN) focused initiatives and actions for the achievement of a nuclear weapons free world. It’s an affiliated network of Abolition 2000 and a joint project of Basel Peace Office, Mayors for Peace 2020 Vision Campaign, PNND, PragueVision, Aotearoa Lawyers for Peace and Global Security Institute.

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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 Intergenerational Solidarity, please email the vice chair at susanneseperson@gmail.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Children’s Rights-NY, please visit childrightsny.org.

International Day for People of African Descent

The International Day for People of African Descent will be celebrated for the first time on 31 August 2021. Through this Observance the United Nations aims to promote the extraordinary contributions of the African diaspora around the world and to eliminate all forms of discrimination against people of African descent.

International days reflect the values that society shares. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and have the potential to contribute constructively to the development and well-being of their societies. Any doctrine of racial superiority is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust, and dangerous and must be rejected, together with theories that attempt to determine the existence of separate human races.

The United Nations strongly condemns the continuing violent practices and excessive use of force by law enforcement agencies against Africans and people of African descent and condemns structural racism in criminal justice systems around the world. The Organization further acknowledges the Transatlantic Slave Trade as one of the darkest chapters in our human history and upholds human dignity and equality for the victims of slavery, the slave trade and colonialism, in particular people of African descent in the African diaspora.

Learn more about how and why the UN commemorates this observance at un.org/en/observances/african-descent-day.

For further information on the International Decade for “People of African Descent: recognition, justice and development” (2015-2024), please visit un.org/en/observances/decade-people-african-descent.

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CoNGO Notes: 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 Social Development, please visit ngosocdev.org

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. 

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

Trafficking in persons is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights. Every year, thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers, in their own countries and abroad. Almost every country in the world is affected by trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims. UNODC, as guardian of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and the Protocols thereto, assists States in their efforts to implement the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons (Trafficking in Persons Protocol).

The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons defines Trafficking in Persons as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.

The World Day against Trafficking in Persons was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution A/RES/68/192.

Did you know:

  • In 2018 about 50,000 human trafficking victims were detected and reported by 148 countries.
  • 50 per cent of detected victims were trafficked for sexual exploitation, 38 per cent were exploited for forced labour.
  • Female victims continue to be the primary targets. Women make up 46% and girls 19% of all victims of trafficking.
  • Globally, one in every three victims detected is a child.
  • The share of children among detected trafficking victims has tripled, while the share of boys has increased five times over the past 15 years.

To learn more about the Blue Heart campaign and how the UN commemorates this observance, visit un.org/en/observances/end-human-trafficking-day.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bobbinassar@gmail.com or bknotts@uua.org. For more information on the Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention & Criminal Justice, please visit crimealliance.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Social Development, please visit ngosocdev.org.

Nelson Mandela International Day

Nelson Mandela devoted his life to the service of humanity — as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker and the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa.

November 2009 – in recognition of the former South African President’s contribution to the culture of peace and freedom, UN General Assembly declares 18 July “Nelson Mandela International Day.” Resolution A/RES/64/13 recognizes Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity in: conflict resolution; race relations; promotion and protection of human rights; reconciliation; gender equality and the rights of children and other vulnerable groups; the fight against poverty; the promotion of social justice. The resolution acknowledges his contribution to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world.

Last year, coinciding with the date of the Nelson Mandela International Day, UN Secretary-General António Guterres delivered the 18th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture. In his speech, “Tackling the Inequality Pandemic: A New Social Contract for a New Era,” the Secretary-General takes aim at the various layers of inequality that are being exposed and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information about Nelson Mandela and view UN materials on his life and message, check out nelsonmandela.org/content/page/annual-lecture or un.org/en/events/mandeladay.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Social Development, please visit ngosocdev.org. 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 Sustainable Development-Vienna, please visit ngocsdvienna.org.

Promising Practices: Protecting Migrant and Refugee Victims of Xenophobia and Intolerance in the Context of the Coronavirus Pandemic

The NGO Committee on Migration‘ s Subcommittee on Xenophobia, Racism and Social Inclusion invites you to a virtual Side Event in parallel with the UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) to present and discuss a just-completed survey on promising practices developed by front-line organizations working with migrants in this COVID-era.

Read the full concept note here and register here!

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Migration, please visit ngo-migration.org. 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 Social Development, please visit ngosocdev.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Children’s Rights, please visit childrightsny.org

Re-imagining The Future We Need: Community voices for a healthy, green and just recovery

NGO Major Group Side Event

This side event at the UN’s High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) 2021 will hear directly from community voices from different parts of the world on action steps needed for a sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. A priority of this session is to ensure the lived experiences of those who are most severely affected by the pandemic are directly included in national assessments of the inter-connected challenges faced by us all; and in setting priorities for a fairer and more sustainable future.

Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_OI59RbzfQuWbXXLRG4PJwA

Agenda

Opening keynote: One planet, one health: healthy people, healthy nature and healthy planet: Ambassador Christian Frutiger, Assistant Director General, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Switzerland

Panel includes:

  • Fatimatou Sall, President, Association of young water and sanitation professionals of Senegal
  • Naeem Abbas, Advocacy Manager, The Brooke, Pakistan
  • Sanjoy Hazarika, International Director, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)
  • Ingrid Rostad, Co-chair of the MG Facilitating Committee at UNEP

Q&A with participants and inputs from NGO Major Group regional partners to share specific experiences from regional and national contexts

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Major Group, please visit ngomg.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bobbinassar@gmail.com or bknotts@uua.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Financing for Development, please visit ngosonffd.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY, please visit ngocsd-ny.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-Vienna, please visit ngocsdvienna.org.

Open Global Civil Society Consultation on IMRF

First Open Global Civil Society Consultation on the International Migration Review Forum (IMRF)

To prepare for collective civil society self-organizing towards the IMRF, we will review initial civil society ideas, expectations and strategies for our engagement in the IMRF during the consultation. These inputs will then be presented to Member States in a series of dialogues over the next 12 months.

All civil society organizations are invited to join us for this global civil society consultation on the IMRF. Register here! Consultation co-facilitators: Alma Maquitico (NNIRR), Apolinar Tolentino (BWI/CGU), Cecilie Kern (NGO CoM), Marta Verani (MGCY)

Agenda

A. Opening Plenary: Setting the Stage 

i. Technical intro

ii. Welcome and introduction to the agenda

iii. Context and road to IMRF, AC survey results, IMRF modalities for civil society etc.

iv. Summary reports on GCM implementation (reports from RMRFs from regional networks) – what has been accomplished, what has not?

  • i. Africa
  • ii. Arab States
  • iii. Asia-Pacific
  • iv. Europe and North America
  • v. Latin America and Caribbean

B. Breakout discussions on civil society priorities in GCM implementation, and IMRF modalities

Intro: breakout goals and questions, and Zoom rooms mechanics

2 i. Discussion on civil society benchmarks for GCM implementation (For this discussion, you may choose from one of these following thematic priorities to discuss benchmarks and progress, or use any other themes you wish to highlight…)

  • Labor Migration and a New Social Contract
  • Racism, Ethnicity and Discrimination
  • Detentions and Returns
  • Regular Pathways and Irregular Migration
  • Climate Change
  • Other

a. What benchmarks should be used to measure GCM implementation?

b. What would GCM progress look like in a national/regional context? ii.

Discussion on IMRF modalities 

  • a. Based on the current IMRF modalities for civil society participation, do you see any challenges that you and your members will face to participate fully in the IMRF?
  • b. How do you think the official civil society rapporteur for the IMRF should be selected?

C. Plenary discussion on main points

  • i. Short reports by group rapporteurs
  • ii. Summary of the discussions and identifying key inputs to present to Member States

D. Closing remarks and next steps

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Migration, please visit ngo-migration.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Financing for Development, please visit ngosonffd.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-Vienna, please visit ngocsdvienna.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY, please visit ngocsd-ny.org

International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

The UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on 26 June marks the moment in 1987 when the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, one of the key instruments in fighting torture, came into effect. Today, the Convention has been ratified by 162 countries.

Torture seeks to annihilate the victim’s personality and denies the inherent dignity of the human being. Despite the absolute prohibition of torture under international law, torture persist in all regions of the world. Concerns about protecting national security and borders are increasingly used to allow torture and other forms of cruel, degrading and inhuman treatment. Its pervasive consequences often go beyond the isolated act on an individual; and can be transmitted through generations and lead to cycles of violence.

The United Nations has condemned torture from the outset as one of the vilest acts perpetrated by human beings on their fellow human beings.

Torture is a crime under international law. According to all relevant instruments, it is absolutely prohibited and cannot be justified under any circumstances. This prohibition forms part of customary international law, which means that it is binding on every member of the international community, regardless of whether a State has ratified international treaties in which torture is expressly prohibited. The systematic or widespread practice of torture constitutes a crime against humanity.

On 12 December 1997, by resolution 52/149, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 26 June the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, with a view to the total eradication of torture and the effective functioning of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

26 June is an opportunity to call on all stakeholders including UN Member States, civil society and individuals everywhere to unite in support of the hundreds of thousands of people around the world who have been victims of torture and those who are still tortured today.

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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 bobbinassar@gmail.com or bknotts@uua.org. For more information on the NGO Alliance on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, please visit crimealliance.org/about.

Principles and Process: Civil Society Mobilization for Meaningful Post-UN75 Implementation Roundtable

The Coalition for the UN We Need and the Stimson Center will host a roundtable discussion to review recommendations from the Fulfilling the UN75 Declaration Expert Roundtable Series through the lens of a framework of principles for civil society engagement and mobilization – “A People’s Commitment” – that formed part of the UN75 People’s Declaration and Plan for Global Action, adopted in May 2020.

Register here!

Featured Speakers

  • Maria Fernanda Espinosa, Member, Group of Women Leaders: Voices for Change and Inclusion and former President of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly
  • Dan Perell, Representative to the United Nations, Baha’i International Community
  • Natalie Samarasinghe, Executive Director, United Nations Association of the United Kingdom
  • Jeffery Huffines, Senior Advisor, Coalition for the UN We Need
  • Maja Groff, Convenor, Climate Governance Commission (Global Challenges Foundation)
  • Cristina Petcu, Research Analyst, Global Governance, Justice & Security Program, Stimson Center

Moderated by Fergus Watt, Coordinator, Coalition for the UN We Need

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Social Development, please visit ngosocdev.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Financing for Development, please visit ngosonffd.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com.

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