The United Nations Committee Against Torture is currently in its 52nd Session in Geneva, and we reflect on this meeting as an opportunity to urge all states to sign, ratify, and accede to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
The Geneva Centre joins the international community in celebrating World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. This occasion provides us with an important opportunity to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity to learn to “live together” better.
The Geneva Centre today launches UNFaces, a global online platform for meaningful communication between the public and representatives of the United Nations that will empower individuals to understand, engage with, and – ultimately – affect the process of diplomacy and development.
The United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development is currently in its seventeenth session in Geneva. The Geneva Centre reports on the role of information and communications technologies (ICT’s) for inclusive social and economic development, and notes the important role played by these technologies in human rights advancement in the Middle East and North Africa.
The right to development can be rooted in the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the two International Human Rights Covenants, and we welcome the 15th session of the Working Group established to monitor and review progress made in the promotion and implementation of the right to development as an opportunity to develop operational sub criteria to the Declaration.
In its resolution 24/14 of 24 September 2013, the United Nations Human Rights Council requested a report from the Advisory Committee on mechanisms to assess the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights.
The Geneva Centre welcome this World Day Against Child Labour as an important opportunity to draw attention to the role of social protection in keeping children out of child labour and removing them from it, and to gain the invaluable support of governments, civil society and others in the campaign against child labour.
The Working Group was established at the seventeenth session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2011, and the Geneva Centre welcomes its 8th session as an important opportunity to ensure that respecting human rights becomes a global standard for all businesses wherever they operate, and one that exists independently of states abilities to fulfil their own human rights obligations and above compliance with national legislation.
Speaking at a conference about hate crime, Austrian Religious Affairs Director Fuad Sanac told Anadolu Agency that Muslims faced problems related to wedding ceremonies, funerals and other Islamic traditions not being legally accepted. Sanac said: “We demand the same rights offered to Jews, Catholics, Protestants and the Buddhist communities.”
Today also serves as an occasion to inform citizens of violations of press freedom – a reminder that in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down, while journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered.
International Worker’s Day commemorates a time of civil unrest in the late nineteenth century when workers in industrialised countries demonstrated for improved working conditions, wage raises and the establishment of a maximum working day and week. Many of the demonstrations were suppressed with force. The rights that demonstrators fought for at that time are featured in the preamble to the original ILO Constitution and are still current today.
She reported that this achievement acknowledges the ways in which Emirati women have been enabled to excel in the workplace, in social and family life, as educators, and as shapers of an evolving global culture. She also emphasised that this finding represents an important opportunity to work towards a stronger and more equal society for all states in the MENA region.
“People of African Descent: Recognition, Justice, and Development”: The International Decade for People of African Descent
From 7th to 17th April 2014, the United Nations Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action met to develop a programme of activities for the International Decade for People of African Descent. The Geneva Centre expresses its support for the initiative and outlines the background and objectives of the decade ahead.
“Truth and Reality Do Not Exist, it is Always a Process of Reconstruction”: Dr Pierre Hazan Lectures at the Geneva Centre
Dr Pierre Hazan, Professor at the University of Neuchâtel, discusses the relationship between the media and human rights, and invited students to consider the selectivity bias involved in all coverage of human rights issues.
The UN treaties and conventions, as well as the four Geneva Conventions and The Hague Convention (IV) respecting the Laws and Customs of War (accession letters were submitted to the Swiss and Dutch Representatives to the Palestinian Authority), include:
- The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations
- The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations
- The Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in armed conflict
- The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
- The Convention on the Rights of Persons with DisabilitiesThe Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- The United Nations Convention against Corruption
- The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
- The International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid
- The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
- The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
The donation was announced in Abu Dhabi by the Ministry of International Cooperation and Development in the presence of the Director of WFP’s UAE office and WFP’s Regional Emergency Coordinator for Syria together with senior UN officials.
“We want to challenge the extremist narrative that some Islamist organisations have put out,” the Prime Minister told reporters following talks with new Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi.
H.E. Rajab M. Sukayri, Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations, said that “Jordan places great importance on human rights advancement, and we welcome the UPR as an opportunity to receive constructive criticism”. The Ambassador reported that Jordan has recently approved the granting of nationality to the children of Jordanian women married to non-Jordanians and has agreed to grant them civil rights. On the consideration of gender among the criteria of discrimination, he noted that the Jordanian Constitution considers people equally before the law, and said that if gender was not mentioned this did not mean that there was discrimination. When asked about broadening the definition of journalists, Mr Sukatri commented that a relevant Committee had amended the law on the trade union of journalists, and that accordingly the freedom of journalists had been expanded.
In December 2006, the United Nations Human Rights Council elected to follow up to the 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance by establishing an Ad Hoc Committee on the Elaboration of Complementary Standards. This Committee was mandated to elaborate complementary standards in the form of a convention or additional protocols to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, to fill the existing gaps in the Convention, and to provide new normative standards aimed at combating all forms of contemporary racism, including incitement to racial and religious hatred.
Breaking the “vicious circle of mistrust, narrow-mindedness and collective hysteria”: The United Nations Human Rights Council on Freedom of Religion and Belief
Mr. Heiner Bielefeldt opened the session by outlining the key findings of his report. He emphasised that manifestations of collective religious hatred “do not “erupt” like a volcano, but are caused by human beings, whose actions or omissions can set in motion a seemingly unstoppable negative dynamic in societies”. The Special Rapporteur reflectedthat, “hate-filled sentiments can trigger a vicious circle of mistrust, narrow-mindedness, collective hysteria, contempt-filled rumours and fear of imaginary conspiracies”, which often result in “hate manifestations [targeting] members of religious minorities or individual dissenters”.