Timeline

October 2014

QUNO hosts a working session at the World Trade Organization (WTO) Public Forum with the theme “Agricultural trade and food security – are the benefits sufficiently inclusive?”

QUNO organized a working session at the WTO Public Forum, to address the forum theme of “Why Trade Matters to Everyone." QUNO posed the question “are the benefits of trade sufficiently inclusive?” in consideration of food security. In addition the sub-themes of trade and employment and trade in Africa were addressed by contextual presentations by panelists.

Moderated by Susan H. Bragdon, QUNO’s Representative for Food & Sustainability, the panel consisted of Jennifer Clapp, Professor & Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security and Sustainability at University of Waterloo, Jerome Bunyi, the Agricultural Attaché to the Philippine Permanent Mission to the WTO and Morrison Rwakakamba CEO if the Ugandan farmers` association, Agency for Transformation .

Jennifer Clapp presented findings from her paper, “Trade Liberalization and Food Security: Examining the Linkages” addressing the underlying narrative of trade liberalization and its relationship to food security. Jerome Bunyi gave context to the paper by providing an account of,  the situation of the Philippines and trade liberalization from the founding of the WTO until the present. Morrison Rwakakamba brought the perspective of small-scale farmers to the fore in sharing his experience in Uganda.

The session was well received by a highly engaged group of more than 80 attendees and included perspectives and questions from a number of different stakeholder groups. An audio recording of the working session can be found here.

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October 2014

QUNO and the South Centre host discussion on trade liberalization and food security

QUNO and the South Centre, a Geneva based intergovernmental organization of developing countries, hosted a seminar with State delegates where author Jennifer Clapp presented the findings of her paper, “Trade Liberalization and Food Security: Examining the linkages.”  The paper was commissioned by QUNO, and is available here.

State delegates expressed appreciation for the opportunity to step back from the details of the World Trade Organization trade negotiations to discuss the underlying narrative that supports arguments for trade liberalization.  The meeting was well attended with a lively discussion of the paper’s conclusion that context is important in determining the most appropriate trade policies to ensure food security.

 

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September 2014

"Rebuilding Iraq in the Nineveh Plain" - A Briefing with Jim and Deb Fine of Mennonites Central Committee

Together with the Mennonite Central Committee, QUNO hosted a briefing at Quaker House from Deborah and Jim Fine, both of whom recently returned from four years of service with the Mennonite Central Committee in Iraq. Based in Erbil, in the Kurdish Region, they administered MCC's relief, development, and peacebuilding work with Iraqi partner organizations throughout the country. In the last three months, their relief work and association with the Chaldean Catholic Church provided them with first-hand experience of the consequences of the fall of Mosul and minority-inhabited towns and villages in the Nineveh Plain. 

In a stimulating and interactive conversation, an array of different approaches were discussed by a diverse range of participants. Jim and Deborah Fine both urged policy makers to pursue approaches that focused on peaceful change by peaceful means, recognising that no military solution could put an end to the current crisis.

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September 2014

QUNO and FCNL co-host lunch in New York bringing together climate scientists and faith community representatives

On 22 September, QUNO and the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) co-hosted a lunch with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and faith community representatives from the New York region.  Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the IPCC, alongside Dr. Chris Field, Co-Chair of the recent 5th Assessment Report Working Group II, and Dr. Renata Christ, Secretary of the IPCC, spoke with 30 representatives from the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Baha’í​ and Brahma Kumaris communities. 

Dr. Pachauri focused on the most recent climate science findings, the human impact of increasing temperatures, the root causes of anthropogenic climate change, and ways in which we can effectively decrease greenhouse gas emissions.  Following these discussions, guests explored the spiritual and moral challenge of anthropogenic climate change.  The lunch was an opportunity for grassroots faith communities to connect with international efforts and resources  in their work to ensure the most vulnerable communities now, and all our future generations, do not suffer as a consequence of our actions.  

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September 2014

QUNO Geneva is accepting applications for Programme Assistant in Peace and Disarmament

Our Geneva office is now hiring a Programme Assistant for February 2015 to January 2016. This is an opportunity for a person with an interest in international affairs and in international organizations to experience a range of international work, while working primarily as an assistant to QUNO’s Representative for Peace and Disarmament. The chosen candidate will learn about, and contribute to, Quaker work at the UN in a small, friendly team. While much of the work will build on the candidate’s professional skills, willingness to assist with general office, catering and domestic duties is essential.  Open to Friends or those in close sympathy with the Religious Society of Friends.

The deadline for applications is 24 October 2014. For more information visit our PA page and download the complete job description and application form below.

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September 2014

Read QUNO Geneva's latest Geneva Reporter newsletter

QUNO Geneva is pleased to share the most recent issue of our Geneva Reporter newsletter and accompanying briefing paper on The Aarhus Convention. Other featured articles include updates on our A New Framework for Trade and Investment in Agriculture work, the Human Rights Council, UN Climate Summit, and Peace and Disarmament.

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September 2014

QUNO hosted events and released two new publications during the UN Climate Summit and the People's Climate March in New York

On 23 September, world leaders met in New York for the UN Climate Summit to highlight the urgency of acting on anthropogenic climate change. Civil society also played a vital role in this process, as demonstrated by the momentous People’s Climate March.

In addition to joining the march and hosting two intimate "quiet conversation" lunches with local faith communities, civil society actors and policymakers, the QUNO Human Impacts of Climate Change programme  released two publications during this critical time.

A Call to Conscience: Quaker experiences facing the challenge of Climate Change” profiles interviews with Quakers worldwide on why they care about climate change, and what they are doing to address the challenge locally, nationally and internationally.

QUNO has also drafted a “Quaker Statement on Climate Change,” which was signed by Quaker organizations and distributed to all Yearly Meetings worldwide. The Statement recognizes the moral duty of Quakers worldwide to respond to the challenge of climate change and calls for meaningful international action on anthropogenic climate change.

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September 2014

QUNO Walks With People's Climate March in New York

On Sunday, September 21, QUNO staff from New York and Geneva joined in the People's Climate March, which brought an estimated 400,000 people to the streets of New York to voice their concerns and walk in solidarity with the communities who are most affected by climate change, in advance of the UN Climate Summit.  QUNO and other Quaker organizations are actively working on the margins of the Climate Summit, calling "on our leaders to make the radical decisions needed to create a fair, sufficient and effective international climate change agreement."

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August 2014

QUNO speaks at the first International Peace-Builders’ Forum

Diane Hendrick spoke to an international audience at the first International Peace-Builders’ Forum organised by Initiatives of Change and the Institute for Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding (ICP) at Caux, Switzerland, on 11 August 2014. The theme of the panel discussion was “Connecting Personal and Systemic Change in Peacebuilding” and also on the panel were Michelle Breslauer, the Vice President of US Programmes of the Institute of Economics and Peace; Professor Barry Hart of Eastern Mennonite University; and Daphrose Ntarataze of  the Initiatives of Change Creators of Peace project.

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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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August 2014

QUNO raises the rights of prisoners and their families at the 27th session of the UN Human Rights Council

QUNO has raised the issue of the rights of the families of persons deprived of their liberty and of children of parents sentenced to death at the 27th Session of the UN Human Rights Council.  These issues have been raised by QUNO in the General Debate and in the Panel on the Human Rights of Persons Deprived of their Liberty. This Panel was the first time the Council has dedicated time to considering the full range of human rights violations experienced by people in detention and made reference to the impact on their families including their children. 

Laurel Townhead, Representative for Human Rights and Refugees, delivered three oral statements, on the topics of women in prisons, older prisoners and children of parents sentenced to death or executed. Video of the three statements are available below:

  • Statement on women in prison given at the Panel on Persons Deprived of their Liberty
    (statement begins at 01:24:00)
  • Statement on children of parents sentenced to death at the General Debate
    (statement begins at 00:07:00) 

     

  • Statement given at the Interactive Dialogue with Independent Expert on Older Persons.
    (statement begins at 01:48:11)

 

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July 2014

QUNO hosts side event at the Aarhus Convention's Meeting of the Parties on "Building peace through environmental access rights"

QUNO  organized a side event on "Building peace through environmental access rights: preventing conflict around water, land and food" (download the briefing paper below) on Tuesday, July 1, at the Meeting of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention.

Aarhus is a UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention linking environmental rights and human rights, focusing on the interactions between the public and public authorities. With the help of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), QUNO was able to bring Khin Thida Tin, from the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry in Myanmar and Hou Jiaru from the China University of Political Science and Law, to join Harry Jonas of Natural Justice and Lynn Finnegan of QUNO to discuss the preconditions for effective public participation around natural resource management, as a means of preventing destructive conflict and promoting equitable and peaceful natural resource management.

 

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July 2014

Open Letter regarding the Outcome Document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples

QUNO partners, Amnesty International and the Canadian Friends Service Committee (CFSC), have written an open letter regarding the Outcome Document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples to be held in New York in September. The letter expresses concern at developments in the run-up to the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples that appear to run against this principle of participation of representatives of Indigenous Peoples. They also express concern at statements by member states during consultations around the document, that appear to be aimed at weakening the rights contained in the Declaration, and the status of the Declaration itself.

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June 2014

QUNO hosts photo exhibit This Light That Pushes Me: Stories of African Peacebuilders

QUNO hosted an evening reception for the photography exhibition, This Light That Pushes Me: Stories of African Peacebuilders at Quaker House in New York. This photography exhibition highlights African Quaker peacebuilders from nine sub-Saharan African countries who have all experienced some form of violence and are now working for peace in their local communities. The exhibition, and accompanying book, trace the journeys that have transformed that suffering into a force for social change. In addition to colleagues and friends from the UN, QUNO was very pleased to be joined by Adrien Niyongabo from the local organization Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities (HROC) in Burundi, who is one of the Quaker African peacebuilders featured in the exhibition and book. 

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June 2014

QUNO hosts discussion on Peaceland book

QUNO hosted an informal discussion at Quaker House in New York for Dr. Severine Autesserre from Barnard College to share the findings of her new book Peaceland: Conflict Resolution and the Everyday Politics of International Intervention. Peaceland offers a fascinating new explanation for why international peace interventions often do not reach their full potential. Through field-based research in conflict zones around the world, Dr. Autesserre demonstrates how normal everyday habits, practices, and personal narratives can influence the way in which peacebuilding is done on the ground.

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June 2014

QUNO Contributes to Peacebuilding Commission Annual Session

QUNO was invited to participate in the first ever UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) Annual Session in New York on June 23rd, which focused on Sustainable support for peacebuilding: the domestic and international aspects. Andrew Tomlinson, QUNO Director, made comments in the workshop sessions on “The importance of inclusion, transparency and consultation in revenue mobilization” and “Long-term accompaniment of societies in transition: a role for the PBC?”

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May 2014

Meeting of the European Bureau of Conscientious Objectors in Brussels

QUNO attended the meeting of the European Bureau of Conscientious Objectors in Brussels. At the meeting, QUNO reported on recent developments at the United Nations regarding the right of conscientious objection to military service. In particular, QUNO highlighted new Guidelines on International Protection issued in December 2013 by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which focus specifically on claims to refugee status related to military service. In addition, Emily Graham from QUNO discussed the practical implications of refusing military service, focusing on the lack of necessary identity documentation and discrimination. 
 

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May 2014

UN Commission on Crime Prevention & Criminal Justice: Side-event on the wider impacts of the death penalty

In May, QUNO attended the annual UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) in Vienna with other representatives from the Friends World Committee for Consultation (Quakers). At the CCPCJ, FWCC co-sponsored a side-event with Amnesty International and Penal Reform International on the wider impacts of the death penalty. Rachel Brett drew attention specifically to the children of parents who have been sentenced to the death penalty. 

At this event, QUNO screened a new video on children of parents sentenced to death, which was prepared with the Child Rights Connect Working Group on Children of Incarcerated Parents. We also launched a new publication, entitled Children of Parents Sentenced to the Death Penalty or Executed: Developments, Good Practices and Next Steps. 

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