Areas of Work

Human Rights & Refugees

We work to strengthen the promotion and protection of human rights through the United Nations system, with particular reference to the interface between human rights and armed conflicts, the protection of refugees, the rights of people in detention, and other Quaker concerns.

Recent Timeline Events

April 2015

QUNO hosts CFSC for the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

For the last two weeks of April, QUNO hosted partners from the Canadian Friends Service Committee (CFSC) in New York for the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Canadian Friends carry the program on Indigenous issues for the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC), and have been engaged internationally for many years, including on the drafting and adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This year CFSC contributed to three joint statements: Outcome of the World Conference on Indigenous Issues, Implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (read by National Chief Perry Bellegarde), and Eradicating violence against Indigenous women and girls

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August 2014

A new Human Rights and Refugees Representative at QUNO Geneva

In February, Rachel Brett who has been Representative, Human Rights and Refugees (HRR) at QUNO Geneva since 1993 announced her plan to retire.  After an international selection process, Laurel Townhead has been appointed to this position from 18 August; we extend a warm welcome to Laurel. Laurel obtained her Master's degree in International Human Rights Law from the University of Essex in 2003. She has experience, among other issues, of work on women in prison, children of prisoners, conscientious objection to military service and support to asylum seekers. She was at QUNO Geneva as HRR Programme Assistant and Project Assistant in 2005-7 and comes to us now from her position as Policy & Campaigns Manager at the UK NGO Women in Prison that she has held since 2008. Laurel has been an attender of Peckham Quaker Meeting in London for several years.

Rachel will continue to work with us part-time as Adviser, HRR during a significant transition period. Her outstanding work has improved the lives of many, changed attitudes, built understanding and led to new international agreements. Rachel has worked on the needs of child soldiers, women prisoners, conscientious objectors to military service, stateless people, and children of parents sentenced to death.

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