Timeline

September 2014

Representative position open in New York

We are pleased to announce an opening within our New York Office: Quaker United Nations Office Representative, Operations. This is a full-time position comprised of 1/3 programmatic work and 2/3 administrative work. Essential responsibilities include program development and implementation, Quaker outreach, managing financial matters, fundraising and development, and staff supervision. The deadline to apply is 15 September. For more information and to apply, please click here.

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September 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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September 2014

QUNO is hosting events and releasing two new publications during the UN Climate Summit and the People's Climate March in New York

On 23 September, world leaders will meet in New York for the UN Climate Summit to highlight the urgency of acting on anthropogenic climate change. Civil society also plays 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" luncheons with local faith communities, civil society actors and policymakers, the QUNO Human Impacts of Climate Change programme is delighted to announce two further texts to be released 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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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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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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June 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 Conscientious Objection to Military Service. Other featured articles include updates on our Human Impacts of Climate Change work, Crossing Boundaries in Search of Equitable & Peaceful Natural Resource Management, Children of Parents Sentenced to Death, and Intellectual Property & Food Security.

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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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May 2014

Revision of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners

The UN Standard Minimum Rules on the Treatment of Prisoners (SMRs) are the reference for national authorities on how prisoners should be treated. However, they were adopted in the 1950s and, though good, need updating. In our work, QUNO has identified a need for reviewing the SMRs, and supports the ongoing process for revision. Since the adoption of the SMRs, new standards relating to the treatment of prisoners have been developed, including relevant human rights treaties. In 2010, the SMRs were supplemented by Rules specifically focussed on women prisoners (known as the Bangkok Rules) in whose development QUNO was involved. More recently, a process started to update the SMRs themselves.

The UN Commission on Crime Prevention & Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) has agreed to extend the mandate to revise the Standard Minimum Rules (SMRs) for the Treatment of Prisoners (SMR). The CCPCJ maintained the commitment that any changes must not lower existing standards. An expert meeting will be convened, probably in the Autumn, to continue to revise the SMRs, with the involvement of non-governmental organizations, like the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC). 
 

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May 2014

UN Commission on Crime Prevention & Criminal Justice (CCPCJ): Elimination of Violence against Children

QUNO welcomes the CCPCJ adoption of the United Nations Model Strategies and Practical Measures on the Elimination of Violence against Children in the Field of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, whose scope includes children of incarcerated parents.

The Model Strategies and Practical Measures are intended to help States in developing integrated strategies for violence prevention and child protection. In summation, they consider that the justice system has a complementary role to the child protection, social welfare, health and education sectors, in creating a protective environment and in preventing and responding to violence against children.
 

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May 2014

QUNO participates in Transatlantic Civil Society Dialogue on Security and Development

QUNO was invited to participate in the Transatlantic Civil Society Dialogue on Security and Development, a civil society process accompanying the EU-US High Level Consultative Group on Development. The outcome document has now been published as “Improving transatlantic approaches to fragile and conflict-affected states.”

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May 2014

QUNO hosts Canadian Friends at UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples

QUNO New York is hosting the Canadian Friends Service Committee for the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues as they continue their dedicated work at this Forum. Pictured are CSFC members Jennifer Preston and Monica Walters-Field, as well as QUNO programme assistant Rachel Singleton-Polster who previously served with CFSC.

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March 2014

QUNO participated in Open Working Group 8 on the Sustainable Development Goals

Quaker House welcomed many guests during the Eighth Session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals. QUNO and our colleagues focused on the topic of conflict prevention, post-conflict peacebuilding and the promotion of durable peace, rule of law and governance within the proposed framework for development post-2015 by engaging with side events and making statements.

We were glad to host colleagues from the Alliance for Peacebuilding and from The Africa Civil Society Platform on Principled Partnership, pictured here.

Andrew Tomlinson, QUNO-NY Director, made a statement to the co-chairs of the OWG, which can be read here (under the title “Peace: getting to the heart of sustainable development”) , and also viewed online (starting at 39:40mins). 

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March 2014

QUNO co-hosted lunch discussion on the topic of "Reconciliation and Inclusion" towards sustainable peace"

Quaker House was joined by two members of the Club de Madrid on 11 February for an engaging discussion with Member States and key UN actors. The Club is an international organization of former heads of state working together for democratic leadership and governance. This meeting followed a thematic debate in the Security Council on the topic of “War, its lessons, and the search for a permanent peace.” 

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