peacebuilding

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 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. 

Past, Present and Future: Conflict and Cooperation in U.S. – China Relations

The U.S. and China

Past, Present and Future: Conflict and Cooperation in U.S.-China Relations

The prophetic historian Howard Zinn taught that if we don’t know our history, we can’t be free.  Without that knowledge, he warned, whenever a president comes on TV and says that we are in danger from here or there, we lack the framework needed to critically judge its truth.  Today the near unanimous Washington, media, and even scholarly and expert consensus is that China poses a dire threat to democracy and freedom around the world, and that our freedom requires defend them by challenging and containing China militarily, economically, technologically, diplomatically, and politically.  Provocative military operations near Taiwan or in the South China Sea carry the danger of an accident or miscalculation escalating to war, even a nuclear war.  Demonization of China also drives anti-Asian racism and violence across the United States, which must immediately be ended.

Understanding Chinese history and the history of U.S.-China relations provides us what we need to advocate for mutually beneficial policies and diplomacy, bringing the world back from the brink and opening the way for collaborations to address the existential threat of nuclear weapons, the climate emergency, and pandemics. Professors Mark Seldon and Zhiqun Zhu are uniquely qualified to share the essential histories of China and of U.S.–Chinese cooperation and competition.

Register here: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZModOmorz4rHtwRKZ9w0MwVaDenIP6Hy8GI

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

International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism

Victims of terrorism continue to struggle to have their voices heard, have their needs supported and their rights upheld. Victims often feel forgotten and neglected once the immediate aftermath of a terrorist attack fades, which can have profound consequences for them. Few Members States have the resources or the capacity to fulfill the medium and long-term needs required for victims to fully recover, rehabilitate and integrate back into society. Victims can only recover and cope with their trauma through long-term multi-dimensional support, including physical, psychological, social and financial, in order to heal and live with dignity.

The primary responsibility to support victims of terrorism and uphold their rights rests with Member States. The United Nations has an important role in supporting Member States to implement Pillar I and IV of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy through standing in solidarity and providing support to victims, capacity building assistance, establishing networks of, and offering support to, civil society organizations, particularly victims of terrorism associations, and encouraging Member States to promote, protect and respect the rights of victims. The United Nations has been working to provide resources, mobilize the international community and better address the needs of victims of terrorism.

The General Assembly, in its resolution 72/165 (2017), established 21 August as the International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism in order to honor and support the victims and survivors of terrorism and to promote and protect the full enjoyment of their human rights and fundamental freedoms

Resolution 72/165 builds on existing efforts by the General Assembly, the Commission of Human Rights and the Human Rights Council to promote and protect the rights of victims of terrorism.

By proclaiming an International Day dedicated to victims, the General Assembly reaffirmed that the promotion and the protection of human rights and the rule of law at the national; and international levels are essential for preventing and combating terrorism.

The Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, adopted unanimously in its resolution 60/288, on 8 September 2006, notes that the dehumanization of victims counts among the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, and the most effective way to counter terrorism is through measures that respect human dignity and uphold the rule of law.

To hear victim testimonies, read relevant documents, and learn more about how/why the UN commemorates this observance, click 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 Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bobbinassar@gmail.com or bknotts@uua.org. 

World Humanitarian Day

Dear NGO Representatives,

Ms. Tatiana Valovaya, UNOG Director-General, is pleased to invite you to take part in the annual observance of World Humanitarian Day at the Palais des Nations, which will take place on Thursday, 19 August 2020 at 3.00 p.m., outside the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room (Room XX). 

Designated by the General Assembly to be observed on 19 August – the day when 22 colleagues were killed at the United Nations Office in Baghdad, World Humanitarian Day is an opportunity to pay tribute to colleagues who have lost their lives in humanitarian service and to honour the thousands of aid workers who continue to provide much needed support to people suffering from conflicts or disasters across the world.  As the world’s humanitarian capital, Geneva plays a central role in bringing together the partners to ensure an effective humanitarian response.

The Geneva World Humanitarian Day commemoration is organized in collaboration with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Due to COVID-19, the solemn ceremony will be organized in a hybrid format, with a limited physical presence outside Room XX. Due to the setup, no interpretation will be provided, however the speakers will address the event in either English or French. For any queries, please contact unog.political@un.org. 

We also take this opportunity to encourage you to be part of the 2021 World Humanitarian Day global campaign #TheHumanRace, which aims to get the world racing against the climate crisis clock ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November. Together with some famous persons in sport, the United Nations is encouraging people across the world to run, walk, swim, row or cycle for climate action. Learn more at https://www.unocha.org/world-humanitarian-day-2021.

The commemoration of World Humanitarian Day is a highlight in the agenda of International Geneva. Ms. Tatiana Valovaya looks forward to your participation which will send a strong signal of support, demonstrating our collective commitment to the humanitarian cause.

Program:

Wreath laying and candle lighting ceremony with Ms. Tatiana Valovaya, Director-General, United Nations Office at Geneva and Ms. Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Ms. Tatiana Valovaya, Director-General, United Nations Office at Geneva

Minute of silence

  • Ms. Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Ms. Laura Dolci, Family of the victim of the attacks against the United Nations Office in Baghdad on 19 August 2003
  • H.E. Mr. Abdul-Karim HASHIM MOSTAFA, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Iraq to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva
  • Ms. Prisca Chaoui, Executive Secretary, UNOG Staff Coordinating Council
  • Ms. Wafaa Saeed, Acting Director of the Coordination Division, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

Laying of floral arrangements by participants

Master of ceremonies: Ms. Alessandra Vellucci, Director, United Nations Information Service

Join the World Humanitarian Day global campaign on the climate crisis. Sign up or pledge your part to the #TheHumanRace now.

To attend in person, register here. The event will also be webcast live at webtv.un.org.

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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 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.

[deadline] Call to Civil Society Youth: Int’l Youth Day 2021 ‘Transforming Food Systems’

For International Youth Day on August 12, 2021, the United Nations Civil Society Unit is celebrating youth voices. The theme of this year Youth Day is, “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health.” The day aims to highlight the notion that the success of such a global effort will not be achieved without the meaningful participation of young people.

Everyday, young people all over the globe work towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Department of Global Communications is aiming to share these successes with our Civil Society network to celebrate youth and to encourage more youth to become involved by becoming the change they want to see in the world.

Please submit text and video responses for a chance to be featured in our International Youth Day Celebration: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=2zWeD09UYE-9zF6kFubccOvTA93e0tRCpxiXcqYBlUVUQThKS1U5NTkwMDRGQ0ozOUlKTlgwM1lITyQlQCN0PWcu

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Children’s Rights-NY, please visit childrightsny.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

[Rescheduled] Review Conference of the Parties to the NPT

In light of the situation related to the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, States Parties have decided to postpone the Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to a later date but no later than February 2022.

2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) was originally slated to be held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 27 April to 22 May 2020. Please adjust your calendars accordingly, as civil society’s voice cannot be excluded from this critical session.

Stay apprised & register to participate here: un.org/en/conferences/npt2020

About:

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote co-operation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament. The NPT represents the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of disarmament by the nuclear-weapon States.

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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 Social Development-NY, please visit ngosocdev.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Social Development-Vienna, please visit ngocsdvienna.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. 

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