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Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Consumer Protection Law and Policy

The fifth session of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Consumer Protection Law and Policy will be held on 5 and 6 July 2021.

Register here: unctad.org/meeting/intergovernmental-group-experts-consumer-protection-law-and-policy-fifth-session

The session will open at 10 am on Monday, 5 July, in room XIX of the Palais des Nations. The extent of physical and/or virtual participation will depend on the prevailing conditions at the time.

Background and purpose of the meeting

In line with the agreed conclusions adopted by the Eighth United Nations Conference to Review All Aspects of the Set of Multilaterally Agreed Equitable Principles and Rules for the Control of Restrictive Business Practices (TD/RBP/CONF.9/9), held on 19–23 October 2020, the deliberations at the fifth session of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts will focus on the following topics:

  • a) Report on the implementation of the United Nations guidelines for consumer protection by member States and relevant stakeholders;
  • b) Latest developments in legal and institutional frameworks: UNCTAD world consumer protection map;
  • c) Report of the working groups on consumer product safety: modalities for the prevention of cross-border distribution of unsafe consumer products and on consumer protection in electronic commerce;
  • d) Report of the working group on modalities of UNCTAD voluntary peer reviews of competition and consumer protection law and policy;
  • e) Consumer protection needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers in connection with public utilities;
  • f) Consumer law, policy and regulatory actions in response to and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • g) Voluntary peer review on consumer protection law and policy: Chile;
  • h) Review of capacity-building on and technical assistance in consumer protection law and policy;
  • i) Provisional agenda for the sixth session of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Consumer Protection Law and Policy;
  • j) Adoption of the report of the fifth session of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Consumer Protection Law and Policy

This meeting is open to all member States of UNCTAD. Other organizations, including specialized agencies, intergovernmental bodies and non-governmental organizations in the general category may participate as observers.

Online registration, at Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Consumer Protection Law and Policy, fifth session, is mandatory for all those wishing to attend the meeting and is required for inclusion in the list of participants. Early registration (before 25 June 2021) is advisable so that timely approval may be received for the issuance of a ground pass to the Palais des Nations.

Registration requires uploading an official letter of nomination to represent an organization at this meeting. For government representatives, a note verbale or an email from the permanent mission concerned in Geneva will suffice. Further enquiries regarding registration should be sent to the UNCTAD secretariat, Intergovernmental Support Service, Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10; email: meetings@unctad.org.

Substantive and other inquiries should be addressed to the UNCTAD secretariat, Competition and Consumer Policies Branch; fax: +41 22 917 0044; email: jacqueline.bouvier@unctad.org.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Financing for Development, please visit ngosonffd.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Social Development, please visit ngosocdev.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.

World Refugee Day

World Refugee Day 2021 focuses on the power of inclusion.

The shared experience of COVID-19 has showed us that we only succeed if we stand together. We have all had to do our part to keep each other safe and despite the challenges, refugees and displaced people have stepped up.

Given the chance, refugees will continue to contribute to a stronger, safer and more vibrant world. Therefore UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency’s World Refugee Day campaign this year is calling for the greater inclusion of refugees in health systems, schools and sport. Only by working together can we recover from the pandemic. Together we heal, learn and shine.

Background

Every minute 20 people leave everything behind to escape war, persecution or terror. There are several types of forcibly displaced persons:

Refugees

  • A refugee is someone who fled his or her home and country owing to “a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion”, according to the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention. Many refugees are in exile to escape the effects of natural or human-made disasters.

Asylum Seekers

  • Asylum seekers say they are refugees and have fled their homes as refugees do, but their claim to refugee status is not yet definitively evaluated in the country to which they fled.

Internally Displaced Persons

  • Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are people who have not crossed an international border but have moved to a different region than the one they call home within their own country.

Stateless Persons

  • Stateless persons do not have a recognized nationality and do not belong to any country. Statelessness situations are usually caused by discrimination against certain groups. Their lack of identification — a citizenship certificate — can exclude them from access to important government services, including health care, education or employment.

Returnees

  • Returnees are former refugees who return to their own countries or regions of origin after time in exile. Returnees need continuous support and reintegration assistance to ensure that they can rebuild their lives at home.

To learn more about how/why the UN commemorates this observance, including how the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol helps protect refugees, explore un.org/en/observances/refugee-day.

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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 Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bobbinassar@gmail.com or bknotts@uua.org. 

International Week of Solidarity with People of Non-Self-Governing Territories

In the UN Charter, a Non-Self-Governing Territory is defined as a Territory “whose people have not yet attained a full measure of self-government.”

In 1946, several UN Member States identified a number of Territories under their administration that were not self-governing and placed them on a UN list. Countries administering Non-Self-Governing Territories are called administering Powers.  As a result of the decolonization process over the years, most of the Territories were removed from the list.

Chapter XI of the UN Charter – the Declaration regarding Non-Self-Governing Territories – provides that Member States administering Territories, which have not attained self-government recognize “that the interests of the inhabitants of these Territories are paramount” and accept as a “sacred trust” the obligation to promote their well-being.

Chapter IX urged the administering Powers concerned to take effective measures to safeguard and guarantee the inalienable rights of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories to their natural resources, including land, and to establish and maintain control over the future development of those resources, and requested the Administering Powers to take all necessary steps to protect the property rights of the peoples of those Territories.

Administering Powers, in addition to ensuring the political, economic, social and educational advancement of the peoples, undertake to assist them in developing self-government and democratic political institutions. Administering Powers have an obligation to transmit regularly to the Secretary-General information on the economic, social and educational conditions in the Territories under their administration.

Chapter IX also urged all States, directly and through their action in the specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system, to provide moral and material assistance to the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories.

To learn more about the history of this UN observance and view the UN’s educational videos on decolonization, visit un.org/en/observances/non-self-governing-week.

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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 Decolonization Alliance, please email lbautista@umcjustice.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com.