“We Will Stand Against Discrimination”

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In its 53rd and 54th meetings on November 21st, the Third Committee discussed actions on six draft resolutions: advancement of women; report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, questions relating to refugees, returnees, and displaced persons and humanitarian questions; report of the Human Rights Council; right of peoples to self-determination; promotion and protection of human rights, human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms; and crime prevention and criminal justice. The Committee passed all draft resolutions, with some needing revisions.

Holy See, Slovakia, the United States, and South Africa were among countries that approved the draft resolutions discussed. It was agreed that stigmas affecting pregnant women and children must end and that education is the best form of HIV/AIDS prevention. Additionally, the United Nations needs to use human rights based approaches regarding people with HIV/AIDS and their individuals struggles. Throughout the meeting, representatives emphasized discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community in the form of gender identity and sexual orientation based violence that afflict non-cisgendered and non-heterosexual individuals globally. Several delegates claimed global campaigns and empowerment practices were only a few of the necessary approaches for women and members of the LGBTQ+ community to exercise and enjoy their full human rights.

Countries opposing some resolutions included the Russian Federation, Mexico, and Singapore. The Representative of  the Russian Federation argued that as a unique United Nations body with universal representation, the Third Committee must respect the disparate views of various countries. The Representative of Singapore agreed and added that delegations have the right to express the needs of their countries in the context of their cultures. H.E. Ambassador of Mexico stated that it is impossible to find a universal definition regarding this issue within the Committee.

Meeting: Third Committee, 53rd/54th Meetings (AM/PM), 71th General Assembly

Date/Time/Location: Monday, 21 November 2016; 10:00 to 13:00, 15:00; United Nations Headquarters

Speakers: Committee Secretary; Representative of the Holy See; Representative of Slovakia; Representative of Norway; Representative of Jamaica; Representative of Iceland; Representative of Senegal; Representative of Malaysia; Representative of Chile; Representative of Israel; Representative of Liechtenstein; Representative of the United Kingdom; Representative of Nauru; Representative of Uganda; Representative of the United Republic of Tanzania; Representative of South Africa; Representative of Spain; Representative of Argentina; Representative of Papua New Guinea; Representative of India; H.E. Ambassador of Botswana; Representative of South Africa; Representative of Yemen; Representative Russian Federation; Representative of Thailand; Representative of Congo; Representative of Singapore; Representative of Japan; Permanent Representative of Egypt; Representative of Brazil; Representative of the United States; H.E. Ambassador of the Republic of Korea; H.E. Ambassador of Mexico

Written By: Janet Lee, WIT Representative

 

A Resolution Toward Peace in Afghanistan

 

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On Thursday, November 17th, the General Assembly convened to address the resolution regarding the current situation in Afghanistan. Delegates expressed concern over issues within the war-torn nation and pledged to provide assistance to help rebuild the country. Delegates addressed the need to support the country in its efforts to strengthen the government. This must be done by fighting corruption and providing military and financial assistance. Delegations of Pakistan and the United States promoted negotiation settlements between the Afghani government and the Taliban to help achieve peace. However, the delegation of Afghanistan disagreed stating the government refuses to cooperate with the Taliban and any other organizations that continue to oppress the Afghani people.

Terrorist organizations prominent within Afghanistan have made it increasingly difficult for citizens to live safely. The deaths of millions of innocent people and the illicit drug trade as a source of income continues to threaten security. Last year alone, as highlighted by Lithuania, there were 11,000 civilian casualties, with 25% of those being children. By uniting international communities and working together, the fight can be won against violence and terrorist organizations. Additionally, gender inequality has been an issue within Afghanistan that delegations aim to address with the resolution. It was continuously stressed throughout the meeting that all forms of violence against women must be combatted. Women have become increasingly involved in political and social progress and creating spaces to empower women in this way can build peace. With political, social, and economic instability, Afghanistan has struggled to provide for the Afghani people. The resolution, on which no delegation has disagreed, will help promote the redevelopment of the troubled nation.

Meeting: General Assembly, 47th Plenary Meeting on the Situation in Afghanistan

Date/Time/Location: 17 November 2016, 10:00 to 13:00; United Nations Headquarters, General Assembly Hall

Speakers: Mr. Heiko Thoms, Deputy Permanent Representatie of Germany; Mr. Mahmoud Saikal, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan; Mr. Mahmadamin Mahmadaminov, Permanent Representative of Tajikitan, Mr. João Pedro Vale de Almeida, Head of the Delegation of the European Union; Ms. Michele Sison, Deputy Permanent Representative of the United States; Mr. Liu Jieyi, Permanent Representative of China; Mr. David Yardley, Counsellor of Australia; Mr. Vladimir K. Safronkov, Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia; Ms. Farzana Zahir, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Maldives; Mr. Güven Begeç, Deputy Permanent Representative of Turkey; Koro Bessho, Permanent Representative of Japan; Mr. Michael Bonser, Minister Counsellor for Political Affairs of Canada; Mr. František Ružička, Permanent Representative of Slovakia; Mr. Syed Akbaruddin, Permanent Representative of India; Ms. Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan; Mr. Román Oyarzan Marchesi, Permanent Representative of Spain; Mr. Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve, Permanent Representative of Belgium, Ms. Raimonda Murmokaifé, Permanent Representative of Lithuania; Ms. Inga Kanchaveli, Counsellor of Georgia; Mr. Inigo Lambertini, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy; Mr. Ihab Moustafa Awad Moustafa, Minister Plenipotentairy of Egypt; Mr. Masud Bin Momen, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh; Mr. Gholamhossein Dehghani, Deputy Permanent Representative of Iran; Mr. Barlybay Sodykov, Deputy Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan; Mr. Tofig Musayev, Counsellor of Azerbaijan; Mr. Georgi Panayotov; Permanent Representative of Bulgaria

 Written By: Leticia Murillo, WIT Representative

 

Creating Spaces for Peace

 

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The Permanent Mission of Brazil and the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) Section, the Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions (OROLSI), and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) co-organized the discussion of the tenth anniversary of the Community Violence Reduction (CVR) programs in United Nations Peacekeeping Missions. Initially, member states expressed little interest in funding the programs. However, Norway tremendously bolstered the program and gave 200,000 dollars, which may set an important precedent for other worldwide donors. Hervé Ladsous stated that CVR programs protect citizens in several African countries north of Mali, as governmental presence is limited in many local communities.

Mr. Atul Khare expressed that the CVR is a positive precedent to similar programs that promote peacekeeping. Mr. Dmitry Titov added that CVR programs contributed to peaceful elections in central Africa and brought balance into the political process. Ms. Bintou Keita launched educational programs in North Darfur, which give students tools for peaceful interaction to counter violence in their surroundings. Mr. Rubem Cesar Fernandes stated that in areas with CVR programming, there were 16 deaths per every 100,000 people in the region. He expressed that this is an important decrease in unnecessary death and a progressive step towards peace. Ambassador H.E. Sergio de Queiroz Duarte closed the meeting and stated that CVR works to foster commuity stability. CVR is extremely helpful in peacekeeping operations running smoothly and fulfilling mandates successfully. H.E. Mr. Duarte expressed that it is time to build upon existing work for global peace.

Meeting: “Creating Space for Peace: Tenth anniversary of Community Violence Reduction (CVR) Programs in United Nations Peacekeeping Missions”

Date/ Location: Wednesday, 16 November 2016; 10:00 to 13:00; Conference Room 4

Speakers: Mr. Edmond Mulet, Chef De Cabinet, Executive Office of the Secretary, General (EOSG); Mr. Hervé Ladsous, Department of Peacekeeping Operations (USG DPKO); Mr. Atul Khare, Department of Field Support (USG DFS); Mr. Dmitry Titov, Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions Inside of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO OROLSI); Ms. Bintou Keita, Deputy Joint Special Representative United Nations Mission in Darfur (DJSR UNAMID); Mr. Rubem Cesar Fernandes, Viva Rio; H.E. Sergio de Queiroz Duarte, DPR Brazil

Written By: Sophia Kotik, WIT Representative

Women and Girls in STEM

 

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Wednesday, the Permanent Mission of Malta and the Royal Academy of Science International Trust (RASIT) held a meeting concerning the advancement of women in science and the effects that media has on stereotypes in STEM. H.E. Mr. Carmelo Inguanez stated that the SDGs are founded on science, technology, and innovation. He emphasized that gender equality is vital to their success. He related the International Day for Women and Girls in Science to SDGs 4 and 5 and stressed that setting up a commission for gender equality ensures future progress in sustainable development. He then explained that Malta would hold a conference in February focusing on science, gender equality, and sustainable development with an emphasis on the effects of the media. Ms. Rola Dahlan followed by adding that the adoption of the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda, if implemented properly, will lay ground for gender equality and women’s empowerment in science and technology. She stated that organizations can help by aligning their strategic direction to achieve full participation in science and access to high quality education.

Ms. Marie Roudil expressed that women account for only about 30% of researchers across the world, with the gender gap widening at higher levels of decision-making. She added that access to clean drinking water is necessary for dealing with climate change in a world with a constantly rising population. Mr. Maher Nasser explained that when young girls are put in an environment where stereotypes dominate, they do not perform as well as boys in STEM. However, when those stereotypes are not reinforced, girls perform just as well as boys. Mr. Navid Hanif concluded the meeting and expressed that the participation of women and girls in STEM varies dramatically by region. It should be noted that the terms “STEM” and “science” were used interchangeably throughout the meeting.

Meeting: Briefing on the “International Day for Women and Girls in Science” (co-organized by the Permanent Mission of Malta and the Royal Academy of Science International Trust (RASIT))

 Date/Time/Location: Wednesday, 16 November 2016; 10:00 to 11:00; Conference Room 11

 Speakers: H.E. Mr. Carmelo Inguanez, Permanent Representative of Malta to the United Nations; Ms. Rola Dahlan, Secretary-General of Women in Science International League; Ms. Marie Paule Roudil, Special Representative and Director of UNESCO Liaison Office; Mr. Maher Nasser, Director of Outreach, UN DPI; Mr. Navid Hanif, Director, Office of ECOSOC Support and Coordination, UN DESA; Ms. Daniela Bas, Director, Division for Social Policy and Development, UN DESA

Written By: Anna Prisco, WIT Representative

 

Migration is a Global Challenge and a Global Chance

 

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Monday, global representatives gathered under the Ninth Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) where delegates discussed and investigated three topics: the social, economic, and legal aspects of the Global Migration Compact. Ambassador Shahidul Haque gave opening remarks. He expressed that a rise in globalization can be attributed to the fluidity in current global migration. Claiming ignorance to be a fatal mistake, he argued that migration is not a political nor social issue, but a component of sustainability and global development.

Several representatives voiced concerns on the effects of forced migration on women, children, and families. The Paris Agreements and many global partnerships since have been successful policies on aiding migrants and countries alike with forced migration. Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary General of the UN, expressed optimism  in the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda, especially concerning access to healthcare resources and educational opportunities. Being an issue that only recently became an official goal of the UN, accurate research and understanding of current migration trends is vital for representatives to be cooperative and helpful in drafting global solutions.

Negative community and family perceptions of migrants versus the reality that migrants live was discussed throughout the day. Mental, social, and emotional damages endured before, during, and after the migration affect people’s roles in their host countries. Challenges also arise with historical, cultural, and language differences and barriers that migrants experience in new, host countries. Non-discriminatory and inclusive protection of safety and human rights should be a priority for migrants in host countries. Ms. Eva Sandis of the NGO Committee on Migration emphasized the need for partnership and participation in civil society in order to protect migrants on a day to day basis. Concluding remarks were made by H.E. Ambassador Shahidul Haque, “Migration is a global challenge and global chance.” It depends how the international community approaches the migration issues are the realities for millions of people.

Meeting: Permanent Mission of Bangladesh and Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD)-Troika, “Global Migration Compact”

Date/Location: Monday, 14 November, 2016; 10:00-10:35, 10:45-12:45, 14:15-16:00, and 16:15-17:00; United Nations Headquarters, Conference Room 12

Speakers: H.E. Ambassador Shahidul Haque, Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh and GFMD 2016 Chair; H.E. Ambassador Masud Bin Momen, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN in New York; Mr. Sönke Lorenz, Head of Migration Issues, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Germany; Mr. Ahmed Skim, Director of Migration Affairs, Ministry in charge of Moroccans Residing Abroad and Migration Affairs, Morocco; H.E. Ambassador Mr. Mehmet Samsar, Director General for Consular Affairs, Turkey; Mr. Gregory A. Maniatis, Senior Adviser to Mr. Peter Sutherland, the UN Special Representative for International Migration; Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu, Special Adviser ad interim on Follow-up to the Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants; Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary General, United Nations; H.E. Ambassador William Lacy Swing, Director General, International Organization for Migration; Ms. Sadia Faizunnesa, Director General (UN), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh; Mr. Gervais Appave, Senior Policy Adviser, International Organization for Migration; Mr. Enrico Fos, Minister, Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the UN in Geneva; Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva; Ms. Eva Sandis, NGO Committee on Migration; H.E. Ambassador Mr. Riaz Hamidullah, High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Sri Lanka; Mr. Dilip Ratha, Lead Economist, Development Prospects Group and Manager DEC-PREM Migration and Remittances Unit, World Bank; Mr. Arturo Cabrera, Former Deputy Minister for Migration, Ecuador; H.E. Ambassador Javier Carbajosa Sánchez, Ambassador at Large for Migration Issues; Ms. Megdelawit Kidane, Global Coalition on Migration (GCM); Ms. Lynn Shotwell, Executive Director at Council for Global Immigration; Ms. Nahida Sobhan, Minister, Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva, Bangladesh; Mr. Ryszard Cholewinski, Migration Policy Specialist, International Labour Organization; Mr. Erica Usher, Senior Director at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Canada; Mr. Samson Lungo, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Zambia to the UN in Geneva; Mr. Craig Mokhiber, Chief, Development, Economic and Social Issues Branch, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; Mr. Pablo Ceriani Cernadas, Vice-chairperson, Committee on Migrant Workers; H.E. Ambassador M. Shameem Ahsan, Permanent Representative of bangladesh to the UN in Geneva; Mr. Thomas Gass, Assistant Secretary General, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs; Professor Michael Doyle, University of Columbia, New York; Mr. Christian Leffler, EU Deputy Secretary General in charge of Economic and Global Issues in the European External Action Service and In Charge of Migration Issues

Written By: Janet Lee, WIT Representative

International Criminal Tribunals and Justice after Civil War

 

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In this session, the General Assembly discussed the many challenges facing the international tribunals formed in response to the civil wars in Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Mr. Agius stated that the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) wishes to resolve all remaining cases regarding inhumane crimes by 2017. The ICTY has already finished proceedings against 154 individuals charged for serious violations of international humanitarian law. Mr. Meron stated that since the tribunals have been established, there has been a “new age of accountability,” within the community. The social movement aids the tribunal in appropriately and accurately convicting responsible individuals.

The Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) executed the other functions of the ICTY since the conclusion of the Rwanda Tribunal in 2015. Mr. Meron stressed the importance of cooperation and support by Member States for the success of the MICT and ICTY in regards to the remaining cases. Most of the convicted individuals in Rwanda have been acquitted or released in the United Republic of Tanzania. Serbia was claimed to also surrendered many indicted individuals. A debate arose, and the Representative of Croatia argued otherwise. He emphasized that all arrest warrants are currently pending, thus expressing concerns of “failures” within the tribunals. The Representative of the United States expressed that the support of judges and staff can be helpful in the tribunals following through on indictments.

Meeting: General Assembly Plenary, Seventy-First Session, 44th Meeting, “Report of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.”

Date/Location: Wednesday, 9 November 2016; 10:00 to 13:00; United Nations Headquarters, General Assembly Hall

Speakers: Mr. Theodor Meron, President of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals; Carmel Agius, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY)

Written By: Ashley Lee, WIT Representative

1 + 4 = 16: Targeting Poverty and Education for Peace

 

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The DPI/NGO Youth-Led Briefing, “1 + 4 = 16” was conducted to promote Sustainability Development Goals 1 (eradicate poverty) and 4 (provide quality education), and their relationship to Goal 16 (attain peace and justice for inclusive societies and institutions), outlined in Agenda 2030.

Panelists shared their stories of activism in relation to each goal to convey that activism can start at a young age. Ms. Frances Simpson Allen and Mr. Sering Falu Njie emphasized that in order to for the SDGs to be successful, young people must be active and central in the SDG progress.

Ms. Pilar Harris, a NYU student and Urban Practice Fellow and Ms. Umazi Mvurya, Development Fellow of the African Leadership Foundation, both stressed that Goal 4 has influenced and motivated them in their personal activism. Ms. Harris worked on the “Lyrics on Lockdown,” an educational program that works with incarcerated women in Rikers Island Women’s Prison, located at New York City’s largest jail complex. Ms. Mvurya emphasized the need to focus on the quality of education, as students are not provided with adequate resources for success in her home area of Kenya. Mr. Austin Schiano, Partnership Director of the Give Me 5 Campaign, expressed that his campaign is integral to Goal 1. The Give Me 5 Campaign focuses on the fact that only 5% of global military funds are needed to help alleviate, and eventually eradicate, global poverty.

Each panelist highlighted the importance of their work in relation to achieving Goal 16, which is to promote peaceful and inclusive communities centered on sustainable development. By granting every child access to quality education and in working to eradicate poverty, Sustainability Goal 16 can move societies away from exclusive practices and towards a reality where all can prosper.

Meeting: DPI/NGO Youth-Led Briefing, “1 + 4 = 16, Targeting Poverty and Education for Peace.”

Date/Time/ Location: Thursday, 3 November, 2016; 11:00 to 13:00; United Nations Headquarters, ECOSOC Chamber

Speakers: Maxine Davila, Youth Representative, WAFUNIF; Jadayah Spencer, Youth Representative, New York Metropolitan Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolence; Jeff Brez, Chief, NGO Relations, Advocacy and Special Events, Department of Public Information; Mitchell Toomey, Director, SDG Action Campaign, UNDP; Pilar Harris, NYU Student, Urban Practice Fellow; Sering Falu Njie, Deputy Director, Policy, UN Millennium Campaign; Austin Schiano, Partnerships Director, Give Me 5 Campaign and Member of Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs New Leaders Program; Umazi Mvurya, Development Fellow, African Leadership Foundation; Frances Simpson Allen Programme Management Officer, Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth at United Nations

Written By: Leticia Murillo and Donna Sunny, WIT Representatives

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Turns 10

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This informal meeting discussed the conventions of the CRPD and how the public can move towards a full realization of its objectives. Ms. Ito began by stating that the CRPD is inclusive in its nature, meaning participation must be intersectional and honor many perspectives.

Mr. Sauer added that the CRPD is working to implement the 2038 Development Framework that has incorporated issues of people with disabilities as a core element. Officials must scale up collective inclusive efforts within the 2030 Agenda for its success. The Secretary General submitted reports on inclusion and accessibility for persons with disabilities within the United Nations this year. The CRPD hopes that the report will lead UN work to reflect these concerns.

Disabilities should be discussed in the context of social inclusion and issues of global poverty. As Mr. Cuk stated, people with disabilities’ rights are human rights, and this should not be a notion solely on paper. UN officials and the public need to take responsibility and  work to include people with disabilities in decision making processes and draft proposals to reflect their needs and concerns.

Ms. Myangi, Ms. Ero, Ms. Cisternas, and Ms. Devandas shared experiences of discrimination. They expressed that this year has been successful in mapping solutions, however further efforts are needed at the international level. Support for desegregation, public education, and work to reduce local poverty must increase. It is critical to move away from discriminatory practices and towards mindsets and policies that empower and people with disabilities.

Mr. Sandoval and Mr. Taula closed the discussion and expressed that the international community and United Nations must work to validate the issues that affect people with disabilities for all to enjoy human rights.

Meeting: ‘The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) Turns 10,” How Can We Move Towards a Full Realization of the Purpose and Objectives of the Convention?’

Date/Location: Wednesday, 26 October, 2016; 15:00 to 16:30; Conference Room 12

Speakers: Ms. Akiko Ito, Chief Secretariat for the CRPD, UN-DESA; His Excellency Mr. Oh Joon, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea; His Excellency Mr. Kai Sauer, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of Finland; Mr. Vladimir Cuk, Executive Director of IDA; Ms. Susan Mwangi, First Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Kenya; Ms. Ikponwosa Ero, Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of Human Rights by Persons with Albinism; Ms. Maria Soledad Cisternas, Chairperson of the Committee on the Right of Persons with Disabilities; Ms. Catalina Devandas, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right of Persons with Disabilities; His Excellency Mr. Juan Sandoval, Ambassador, Deputy Permanent Representative of Mexico; His Excellency Mr. Phillip Taula, Ambassador, Deputy Permanent Representative of New Zealand

Written By: Ashley Lee, WIT Representative

 

El Niño, A Continuing Global Threat

 

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In this session, the General Assembly discussed the environmental and socioeconomic effects of El Niño, a climate cycle in the Pacific Ocean with extreme and dangerous impacts on global weather patterns. H.E Mr. Peter Thomson began and stated that El Niño has directly affected over 60 million people globally. The negative effects on communities worldwide have been profound, including malnutrition, waterborne diseases, and limitations to healthcare and educational resources. Additionally, he highlighted El Niño’s detriment to the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals. In many cases, El Niño’s weather patterns have already undermined progress made since the SDGs were implemented in 2015. H.E. Mr. Gustavo Meza-Cuadra Velásquez brought attention to Peru’s exceptional vulnerability to natural disasters given its geography. As a result, Peru has instituted preventative measures and increased focus on risk management. He noted that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has set clear global targets for disaster risk management.

The Representative of Ecuador added that the peak period of El Niño ended in May, however the economic impacts remain difficult to measure. He explained that El Niño has decreased harvest crop volumes, destroyed rural infrastructure, and increased food insecurity in the region. He emphasized the importance of the government prioritizing water accessibility. H.E. explained that water can be used for energy and agricultural irrigation as well as for drinking and sanitation. In addition to the federal government taking action, he acknowledged the importance of coordinating solutions with local governments to ensure the safety to all people in Ecuador. He urged other countries to adopt a proactive, rather than reactionary, approach to natural disaster, and stated that Ecuador’s early actions can save thousands of lives.

Meeting: Plenary Meeting, “Action-Oriented Recommendations to Address the Socioeconomic and Environmental Impacts of the 2015/16 El Niño Phenomenon,” (Item 13).

Date/Location: Wednesday, 2 November, 2016; 10:00 to 13:00; United Nations Headquarters, General Assembly Hall

Speakers: H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, President of the General Assembly; H.E. Mr. Gustavo Meza-Cuadra Velásquez, Permanent Representative of Peru; Distinguished Representative of Ecuador

Written By: Anna Prisco, WIT Representative

 

Human Rights Protection in Closed Society: Myanmar and North Korea

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Aspects of the current humanitarian crises in Myanmar and the People’s Republic of Korea were discussed in this session. In Myanmar, Islamic members of the Rohingya community in Rakhine State are subject to extreme prejudice. Meanwhile, the citizens of the People’s Republic of Korea are attempting to recover, with insufficient aid, from damage caused by major flooding.

Yanghee Lee, the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar, called for action against the systematic discrimination prevalent against vulnerable Islamic minorities in the Rakhine State. There is a shortage of medical care in the region. Ms. Lee discussed how this issue could be combatted through the ratification of core human rights treaties.

Despite six decades of armed conflict, Myanmar has recently been experiencing change at a rapid pace. A democratic governmental system has been put in place to promote the shift from a closed society to an open society. However, radical religious leaders trained by the Taliban still play a role in the nation’s politics.

The representative of the United States emphasized the value of global humanitarian aid and called for it in Myanmar. She strongly supported Ms. Lee’s proposed citizenship program for inhabitants of Myanmar. The US representative expressed concerned about the unwarranted arrest of journalists and political figures, but was pleased to hear of their releases.

The representative of the European Union questioned the role of women in the process of peace negotiations. Furthermore, the representative of Australia addressed the rights of the LGBTQIA community as some are targeted and imprisoned in Myanmar.

Additionally, Tomás Ojea Quintana, the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, stated that despite the massive flooding in North Korea, the nation’s fifth nuclear test launch occurred. Only 10% of the required necessities have been attained for aid and with winter approaching, this was concluded to be an issue for North Korea and the international community.

Meeting: Third Committee, 32nd Meeting on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights

Date/Time/Location: Thursday, 27 October, 2016; 10:00 to 13:00; Conference Room 1

Speakers: Yanghee Lee, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar; Representative of Myanmar; Representative of Norway; Representative of United States of America; Representative of China; Representative of Japan; Representative of Eritrea; Representative of Thailand; Representative of European Union; Representative of Australia; Representative of Switzerland; Representative of Egypt; Representative of Russian Federation; Representative of Lao People’s Democratic Republic; Representative of Cuba; Representative of Czech Republic; Representative of Jordan; Representative of Singapore; Representative of United Kingdom; Representative of Philippines; Representative of Vietnam; Representative of Saudi Arabia; Representative of Iran; Representative of Organization of Islamic Cooperation; Tomás Ojea Quintana, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; Representative of South Korea; Representative of Venezuela speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement; Representative of Syrian Arab Republic; Representative of Liechtenstein; Representative of Netherlands; Representative of United Kingdom; Representative of Belarus; Representative of Germany; Representative of Jordan; Representative of Maldives; Representative of Ireland; Representative of Argentina

Written By: Donna Sunny, WIT Representative