Timeline

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, and the protection of refugees.
September 2016

QUNO delivers oral statement on the rights of children of incarcerated parents at the 33rd Session of the Human Rights Council

QUNO delivered an oral statement on the rights of children of incarcerated parents at the 33rd Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The statement marked the five-year anniversary of the Committee on the Rights of the Child’s Day of General Discussion on Children of Incarcerated Parents (held in September 2011), and recognised the importance of this event in contributing to improved international and national standards on the issue. 

QUNO called upon the Council to focus on implementing the relevant resolutions and to consider the situation of children of parents sentenced to death or executed ahead of the upcoming General Assembly resolution on moratorium on the use of the death penalty.

Catherine Baker, Programme Assistant for Human Rights and Refugees delivered the statement during the General Debate discussion on Friday 16th September

 

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August 2016

QUNO attends 32nd session of the Human Rights Council

From 13 June to 1 July, QUNO representatives attended the 32nd session of the UN Human Rights Council taking place in Geneva.

During the session, QUNO followed the negotiation of resolutions on a number of thematic issues, including the right to a nationality, the human rights of migrants and human rights and climate change.

Programme Assistant Daniel Cullen delivered two oral statements at the session: the first on the Nelson Mandela Rules (see this link at chapter 76 for video) in the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Health, and the second on the rights of children of incarcerated parents (see this link at chapter 36 for video) in the Item 3 General Debate.

On 29 June, Representative Laurel Townhead spoke on a panel at a side event on the human rights of refugees and migrants, which QUNO co-organised with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the International Detention Coalition (IDC) and others.

On the same day, Zaina Kisongoa, Country Representative for Somalia with American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) spoke on a panel a separate side event on the role of economic, social and cultural rights in the prevention of conflict, co-organised by QUNO, OHCHR and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES).

QUNO also co-sponsored a third side event, organised by Penal Reform International (PRI) along with the Permanent Missions of Canada and Denmark, on the human rights of women in conflict with the law, which took place on 15 June.

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August 2016

QUNO attends World Congress against the Death Penalty

From 22-23 June, QUNO Geneva representatives attended the 6th World Congress against the Death Penalty, hosted in Oslo, Norway.

The Congress, convened by Ensemble contre la peine de mort (ECPM), is held every three years to bring together those working towards the abolition of the death penalty worldwide.

This year’s Congress was attended by around 1300 participants from over 80 countries, including government ministers, parliamentarians, academics, lawyers and members of civil society.

On 23 June, QUNO organised a side event at the conference, drawing attention to the wider impacts of the death penalty on children of parents sentenced to death or executed.

Representative Laurel Townhead spoke on the panel at the event, along with Programme Assistant Daniel Cullen and Zaved Mahmood of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

For more information on issues affecting children of parents sentenced to death or executed, and the international standards in this area, please see the below QUNO briefing paper prepared for the Congress.

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July 2016

QUNO co-hosts high level meeting on Refugees, Migrants and the 2030 Agenda

On 20 July, 2016, QUNO co-hosted a policy forum discussion with the International Peace Institute in New York , along with the governments of Finland, Germany, Mexico and Morocco, entitled "Ensuring that no one is left behind: A High-Level Dialogue on Migration and Refugees", during the ministerial segment of the High Level Political Forum. At a time when the world is experiencing the largest movements of peoples in recorded history, the goal of the event was to connect the dots between the 2030 Agenda and the upcoming UN Summit in September that will address large movements of refugees and migrants.

Video of the event is available here.

Current UN discussions on displaced persons are fragmented, with separate silos for issues of refugees, migrants and internally displaced people, each with their own normative framing, organizational context and political sensitivities. The 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development provides a new framing, using the mandate for peaceful, just and inclusive societies, and the imperative to "leave no-one behind", to address the needs and perspectives of all those who have been forced to leave their homes, whether from violence and conflict, climate change, or economic necessity.

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June 2016

QUNO co-hosts event on human rights of refugees and migrants

During the 32nd session of the Human Rights Council, QUNO co-hosted a side event on the human rights of refugees and migrants. Co-organised with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the event took place on Wednesday 29 June at the Palais des Nations.

The panel discussion featured speakers including the Ambassador of Ireland to the UN, the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection. This event was also co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Ireland, the International Detention Coalition (IDC), Caritas Internationalis and the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC).

For further details, including details of all speakers, please see the flyer attached below.

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June 2016

QUNO co-hosts event on women in conflict with the law

During the 32nd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, QUNO co-hosted a side event on the issue of the human rights of women in conflict with the law. Co-organised with Penal Reform International (PRI) and the Permanent Missions of Canada and Denmark, the event took place on 15 June at the Palais des Nations. The panel discussion was moderated by QUNO's Representative for Human Rights and Refugees, Laurel Townhead. For further information on this event, including details of all speakers, please see the flyer attached below.

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May 2016

QUNO attends European conference on children of prisoners

From 20-22 May, QUNO attended the annual meeting of Children of Prisoners Europe (COPE), the European network of organizations working for the rights of children of incarcerated parents, held in Zagreb, Croatia.

The meeting allowed the sharing of experiences from across Europe, and discussion of new developments, policy concerns and good practice in this area.

A public conference on Friday 20 May, hosted in conjunction with the office of the Croatian Ombudsman for Children, brought together speakers from a range of institutions, including the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the European Commission and the European Parliament, as well as many organizations working directly with prisoners and their families.  

QUNO's Daniel Cullen (Programme Assistant, Human Rights and Refugees) exhibited a conference poster at the event, which outlined the international standards relating to the children of incarcerated parents, highlighting how the Human Rights Council and Committee on the Rights of the Child have sought to address the issue in the past. 

During the COPE general assembly on Saturday 21 May, QUNO's application for full membership was formally accepted. For further information about the work of the network and its members, please visit the COPE website here

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April 2016

QUNO participation at the 31st session of the Human Rights Council

The 31st session of the Human Rights Council (29 February to 24 March) provided new opportunities for QUNO to raise issues relevant to several areas of ongoing concern, such as the human impacts of climate change, criminal justice reform and the rights of children of incarcerated parents.

QUNO followed the negotiation of a number of thematic resolutions - including those on the rights of minorities, human rights and the environment, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and the freedom of religion or belief - and delivered oral statements during several debates and discussions. Full details of each of these statements, including links to video recordings, are available here.

QUNO’s Peace and Disarmament programme also organised a well-attended side event during the session, hosting a panel discussion on environmental rights and the prevention of destructive conflict, further information on which is available here.

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April 2016

Quaker statement on drug policy and human rights issued

Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) has issued a new Quaker statement on drug policy and human rights in advance of a major General Assembly meeting next week. 

The UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the world drug problem will take place in New York between 19-21 April 2016.  

Building on a history of Quaker work on drug policy reform and criminal justice issues, the statement advocates a health-based approach to illegal drug use, rather than the use of punitive criminal justice measures. The full text of the statement is now available online here.

QUNO Geneva recently raised these issues in an oral statement to the 31st session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) in March 2016, drawing attention to the human rights impacts of drug policy and criminalization.

A video of this HRC statement, delivered by Representative for Human Rights and Refugees, Laurel Townhead, can be viewed (beginning at chapter 26 on the sidebar) here

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March 2016

Consultation on Human Rights and Peace and Security

QUNO and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) hosted a consultation with invited experts to look at how peacebuilding and human rights work by the UN can be strengthened by increasing understanding of the processes and relevance of each agency and community’s work and by providing space for dialogue between them. The ideas generated are being fed into the preparations for the high-level thematic debate of the UN General Assembly focused on peace and security on 10-11 May. 

The President of the General Assembly, Mogens Lykketoft, is organising the debate at the GA to reflect on concrete ways to draw out synergies from the most recent UN peace and security reviews, including the review of UN peace operations, the Peacebuilding Architecture Review and the implementation review of Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security and was supportive of a consultation focusing on the human rights aspects.

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March 2016

QUNO delivers oral statement on minorities in criminal justice systems at the HRC

QUNO delivered an oral statement on the impact of discrimination against minorities in the criminal justice system during the 31st session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The issue was raised by QUNO in response to the presentation of the final recommendations from the eighth session of the Forum on Minority Issues, which had originally taken place during November 2015.

QUNO highlighted the relationship between the overcriminalization and overincarceration of minorities in criminal justice systems, and the disproportionate impacts of parental incarceration faced by minority children. We called upon States to protect and uphold the rights of members of minority groups, including children, in criminal justice systems.

Daniel Cullen, Programme Assistant for Human Rights and Refugees, delivered the statement during the Item 5 General Debate discussion on Wednesday 16 March.

The full text of the statement is linked below on this page, and video (beginning at chapter 20 on sidebar) is available at the following link: http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/human-rights-council/watch/item5-general-debate-42nd-meeting-31st-regular-session-human-rights-council/4803282611001 

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March 2016

Important rights around the environment being negotiated in Latin America and the Caribbean

QUNO organised a side event at the UN Human Rights Council on 4 March on “Procedural Rights and the Environment: The Principle 10 Negotiations in Latin America and the Caribbean”. The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, John Knox, the Ambassadors of Chile and Costa Rica and Marcos Orellana of the Centre for International Environmental Law (CIEL), provided an update on what all agreed is the most significant development around the right to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters at the moment. Diane Hendrick presented on the importance of reaching the strongest possible agreement to help prevent destructive conflict around natural resources. The session was moderated by Laurel Townhead of QUNO.

 

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January 2016

VIDEO: Laurel Townhead talks about our Human Rights & Refugees programme

In this video, excerpted from a longer film shown at the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) World Plenary Meeting held in Peru in January 2016, Human Rights & Refugees discusses the work of our Human Rights & Refugees programme.

The Quaker United Nations Office Human Rights & Refugees programme works 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.

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January 2016

QUNO co-hosted briefing on new UN rules on treatment of prisoners

QUNO Geneva co-hosted a briefing on the new revised UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (known as the "Nelson Mandela Rules"), the key set of international standards on detention conditions and the treatment of prisoners.

The event, organized in conjunction with Penal Reform International (PRI), the Permanent Mission of Switzerland and the Permanent Mission of Uruguay took place on Thursday 4 February.

An expert panel, moderated by Laurel Townhead, Representative for Human Rights and Refugees, addressed issues around the process of revising the original rules and discuss ideas for the implementation of the new updated rules.

The event was broadcast live online and is available for viewing here.

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November 2015

QUNO co-hosts event on minority issues and criminal justice

QUNO Geneva co-hosted an expert panel meeting alongside the 8th session of the Forum on Minority Issues, on Wednesday 25 November. 

Marking the International Day on the Elimination of Violence against Women, the panel addressed issues of discrimination and violence faced by women from minority groups in criminal justice systems. 

The event was organised in conjunction with the Permanent Mission of Canada, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Penal Reform International (PRI).

Further information about the event and speakers can be found on the flyer available below.

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September 2015

QUNO hosts consultation on criminal justice and drug-related policies

QUNO co-hosted an informal NGO consultation meeting on criminal justice and drug-related policies, in conjunction with the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) and Penal Reform International (PRI), on Tuesday 29 September.

The consultation was intended to gather the views of NGOs on these issues in order to support civil society input in advance of the UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem, taking place in New York in April 2016.  

Further details about the event can be found on the flyer available below.

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September 2015

QUNO delivers oral statement on children of parents sentenced to death or executed at the HRC

QUNO delivered an oral statement on the rights of children of parents sentenced to death or executed during the 30th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The issue was raised by QUNO in response to an update to the UN Secretary General's report on Capital punishment and implementation of the safeguards guaranteeing the protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty.

QUNO called on the Council to follow up on recommendations noted by the report, including convening an expert seminar for further investigation, and developing further guidance on the issue. Daniel Cullen, Programme Assistant for Human Rights and Refugees, delivered the statement during the General Debate discussion on Friday 18 September.

Text and video (beginning at 01:41:30) is available below: 

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June 2015

QUNO co-hosts "Moving away from the Death Penalty" side event at the 29th session of the Human Rights Council

QUNO will co-host the side event "Moving away from the Death Penalty: Protection of the rights of persons facing death penalty abroad, including migrants" at the 29th Session of the Human Rights Council on Wednesday, 17 June 2015 at 11am.

The side-event will provide a platform for the exchange of information and views on persons who face the death penalty aboard, including migrant workers; and to share good practices, lesson learned and challenges in the implementation of relevant international human rights standards. 

Further details on the event and panelists can be found in the flyer available below.

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May 2015

QUNO co-hosts side event at the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Vienna

QUNO, together with Friends World Committee for Consultation and Penal Reform International, hosted a side event at the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Vienna on Friday, 22 May 2015. The event presented an opportunity for further discussion following the presentation to the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice​ (CCPCJ) of the ninth quinquennial report of the UN Secretary-General on "Capital punishment and implementation of the safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty." Further details are available in the flyer below. 

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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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