Timeline

Past Work

These are topics and issues that were major QUNO projects in the past. For the most part, these projects are no longer active because our work in these areas resulted in the issues being addressed and recognized in the larger UN community.
Event of Note
January 1998

Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers

We helped to found the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, an international organization that seeks to end the use of child soldiers, advocate for the release of unlawfully recruited children, promote their successful reintegration into civilian life, and call for accountability for those who unlawfully recruit or use them.

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Event of Note
January 1999

Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention

We facilitated the adoption of a key international legal instrument to address child soldiers in 1999:  The prohibition of military use of children in the International Labour Organisation’s Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (No. 182).

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May 2012

Swarthmore Lecture by Rachel Brett

Rachel Brett delivered the Swarthmore lecture at Britain Yearly Meeting on 26 May. Entitled Snakes and Ladders, it described Quaker work on human rights at the United Nations.

This work has brought real change for many, including conscientious objectors and child soldiers. The Swarthmore Lectureship, established in 1907, provides for the publication of a book as well as the public lecture. For information about the book and how to order it please email us at quno@quno.ch.

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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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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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March 2015

QUNO co-hosts Climate Change side event at the Human Rights Council

The Geneva Climate Change Concertation Group (GeCCco), the Geneva Interfaith Forum on Climate Change and Human Rights (GIF), QUNO and other NGOs concerned about the impact of climate change on human rights, co-hosted CLIMATE CHANGE AND HUMAN RIGHTS: THE WAY FORWARD IN THE HRC, a side event to the 28th session of the Human Rights Council. The side event was held on Friday, 6 March, from 1-3pm in Room XXVII at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. 

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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

QUNO delivers oral statement on human rights and climate change at HRC

In response to the report of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, QUNO delivered an oral statement stressing the importance of incorporating a human rights perspective into states' climate action.

Focusing on the role of human rights in producing coherent, legitimate and sustainable policies, as well as the importance of ensuring citizens' participation in climate policy, the statement was delivered by Patrick Endall, Programme Assistant for Food & Sustainability and Climate Change, during the 31st session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. 

A video recording of the session is available online - QUNO's statement can be viewed by scrolling to Chapter 51 on the right of the video player.

The text of the statement can be viewed following the link below.

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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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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 signs joint Quaker statement on TTIP

In a written statement, five Quaker organisations from Europe and the United States have called on governments around the world, to ensure that trade contributes to a more equal, economically just and sustainable world. The statement comes in the context of building opposition to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), that is currently being negotiated between the European Union and the United States of America.

American Friends Service Committee, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Quaker Council for European Affairs, Quaker United Nations Office and Quaker Peace & Social Witness are concerned that some aspects of the global trade system are working counter to their vision of equality, truth, integrity, simplicity, and peace and global commitments, such as the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Goals. TTIP exemplifies these concerns, which however, also apply to other trade agreements such as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).    

The shared Quaker statement states that while “properly regulated trade can benefit everyone by contributing to well-being and by strengthening relationships and understanding between different countries and culture,” […] it is important to see trade for what it is, namely, a “tool, not an end in itself.” Thus, rather than measuring the success of any trade agreement solely in economic terms, Quakers agree in their statement that “a truly successful trade deal will benefit the whole of society and the environment.”

Quakers are alarmed that in its current form, TTIP and its negotiations are prioritising the prospect of short-term economic gain over the longer-term factors necessary to human wellbeing and the protection of the Earth. Furthermore, the inclusion of the proposed Investor to State Dispute Settlement mechanism or Investment Court System, that “gives investors privileged rights to challenge social, environmental, health or other legislation, not open to ‘ordinary’ citizens, are fundamentally antidemocratic in nature and therefore unacceptable.” 

Quakers state that “truth and transparency are the only way to ensure real accountability.” They are concerned with the lack of public access to details of the TTIP negotiations. Therefore, in their statement, they urge governments to ensure that “trade negotiations are transparent and negotiating parties seek meaningful input […] from a broad spectrum of civil society throughout the negotiation process.”

Read the full statement here.

Photo: GotCredit/Flickr

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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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March 2017

QUNO Human Impacts on Climate Change (HICC) programme delivered an oral statement at the 34th Session of the Human Rights Council

QUNO Human Impacts on Climate Change (HICC) programme delivered an oral statement at the 34th Session of the Human Rights Council during the Panel Discussion on Climate Change and the Rights of the Child. QUNO welcomed this panel discussion, for at its heart, climate change is an intergenerational justice concern.

Our statement referred to the root causes of climate change caused by human activities. We briefly described how current rates of temperature rise and species extinction, as well as the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere are unprecedented in our human history.  Drawing on elements from other QUNO programmes, and we highlighted the interconnection between climate change and human rights as well as peace, noting that rising temperatures have serious repercussions on sustaining peace.

However, our message was not to create fear, but rather hope and empowerment.  We emphasised that with urgent and fair climate action, catastrophic global temperature rise does not have to happen.  We reiterated the work of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, in particular, the critical role of a rights-based approaches in climate action to establish more coherent, legitimate, and sustainable climate policies. 

The oral statement, delivered by Cassandra Moll, Peacebuilding and Climate Change Programme Assistant, can be found at 1:32:50 on the video of the panel.

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March 2017

QUNO at the Human Rights Council: a focus on children of parents facing the death penalty as victims of torture

On 1st March 2017, the annual High Level Panel on the question of the death penalty was held at the 34th session of the Human Rights Council. This year’s panel focussed on how the death penalty relates to torture.

During the panel, Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment highlighted the impact of the death penalty on children:

The death penalty is… first of all, in my view, a question of life and how we define ourselves as human beings, as States and as an international community. Do we really want to retain a retributive system, deliberately inflicting pain and anguish on convicts, on their parents, on their spouses, on their children?... Or do we prefer to define ourselves on different terms, focusing not only on the inherent dignity of convicts, victims and families but also on the dignity and moral authority of our human society as a whole? ”

In light of the panel’s focus on torture, we submitted a written and oral statement at this session of the Council, highlighting that the sentencing to death or execution of a parent leads to a violation of the child’s right to be free from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment (CIDT) or torture under international law. 

The written statement can be found here.

The oral statement, delivered by Catherine Baker, Programme Assistant for Human Rights and Refugees at the High Level Panel, can be found at 2.09.45 on the video of the panel.

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