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Human Rights & Refugees

May 2020

QUNO Directors' Letter on the Impact of COVID-19

“We hold in the light those made ill by the new virus, their families and friends, and the dedicated people caring for all of us.” (…) “In the midst of rapid change, QUNO staff will continue to work quietly with international policymakers, guided by Quaker principles of peace, truth, justice, equality, stewardship and simplicity, and upheld by your encouragement and support.”

In this letter, the Directors of our New York and Geneva offices reflect on the impact of COVID-19 on peace, multilateralism and Quaker work at the United Nations.

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March 2020

Children of Incarcerated Parents - International Standards and Guidelines

Children of incarcerated parents continue to face a range of challenges to the full respect for and enjoyment of their rights. This Briefing Paper provides an update to QUNO’s previous publication, offering an overview of the international legal standards applicable to these children. The paper incorporates information from legal instruments, treaty bodies, and other guidance from the United Nations and regional systems in both human rights and criminal justice fields. The paper is designed to promote the rights of these children, to aid States and other actors in ensuring that these rights are protected in practice, and to contribute to contribute to improving standards.

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March 2020

Working Paper: Human Rights Concerns for Children of Parents Accused or Convicted of Association with Designated Terrorist Groups

For over 15 years, QUNO has worked to draw attention to the impact on children of parental incarceration and clarify the existing human rights protection in international law. This paper draws on that work to outline the additional specific rights violations faced by children because their parents are accused or convicted of association with designated terrorist groups.

We welcome comments on the paper to lhalton@quno.ch.

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August 2019

Geneva Reporter

QUNO's August 2019 issue of the Geneva Reporter newsletter is available below. This issue features: an update from our Human Rights & Refugees programme on the important next steps after adoption by the UN of the Global Compact on Migration last December; ; highlights about our recent prevention activities for human rights and sustaining peace; approaches to people and nature centered climate policy; and a QUNO Q&A with our newest Representative, Joachim Monkelbaan.

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June 2019

Conscientious Objection submission to OHCHR report

While recognition of conscientious objection in national law is a huge step towards ending violations of the rights of those who refuse to fight, human rights based processes need to be in place to ensure that the right can be exercised in practice. On this basis the Human Rights Council mandated a report from the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, delivered in June 2019, that examines barriers to the right to conscientious objection and provides a checklist of  recommendations for States when implementing policy. This document is QUNO's contribution to the report.

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June 2019

Briefing Tools for Practitioners—Children: unseen victims of the death penalty

 The Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) is committed to the abolition of the death penalty in all its forms. We believe that bringing light to the issue of the impact of the parental death penalty on children contributes to the broader abolitionist movement and can contribute to the eradication of the death penalty worldwide.

The issue of the impact on children of parents sentenced to death or executed is applicable to all countries, and at all stages of the process, from arrest through to post-execution; there are parents everywhere. Focusing on the experience of the children who are affected can help in turn to humanize those sentenced to death, by representing them as people who give and receive love—as individual human beings, and not only as the crimes they may have committed.

This set of briefing tools is intended to inform decision makers, including defence lawyers, sentencers and legislators, and also diplomats and State representatives, of the impact on children and the relevant international legal standards in order to change policy and practice.

French and English language versions are available below.

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March 2019

QUNO statements at the 40th Human Rights Council

At the 40th session of the Human Rights Council, QUNO delivered an oral statement (and submitted a written counterpart providing further information) focussing on the ways in which the sentencing to death or execution of a parent violates the best interests principle, particularly where the death sentence is mandatory, and often violates the child's right to non-discrimination. 

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February 2019

Protection of the Rights of Children of Parents Sentenced to Death or Executed: An Expert Legal Analysis

This paper presents a legal analysis of the protection of the human rights of children of parents sentenced to death or executed. An earlier legal analysis by the Quaker United Nations Office explored the effects of parental imprisonment on the rights of the child. This analysis does not repeat the points made there regarding the effects on children when a parent is imprisoned, but instead focuses on the particular impact on the rights of the child of a parent’s death sentence or execution. 

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December 2018

Briefing for Friends - A short guide for engaging with the Global Compact on Migration

On 10th December 2018, after a two year negotiation process, States formally adopted the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. As an international agreement determined to enhance cooperation on migration policy, the Global Compact provides an unprecedented opportunity to acknowledge that all countries are places of origin, transit and destination, and that States have a shared responsibility in their approach to people on the move. 

This briefing paper offers an explanation of the final text, a brief timeline of how it was developed, some suggestions of how Friends can use the document to support their witness and their activism, and a short description of what QUNO’s next steps will be. 

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December 2018

Geneva Reporter

QUNO's December 2018 issue of the Geneva Reporter newsletter is available online. The latest issue features: an update from our Human Impacts of Climate Change programme on the IPCC's Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C; news about a significant sew standard recognizing the impact of parental death sentences on children; highlights from a recent panel discussion on nuclear disarmament; and a QUNO Q&A with Vinay Talwar.

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December 2018

Foundations for Implementation (By Individual Objectives)

Foundations for Implementation is a guide to assist States in the implementation of the Global Compact for Migration. Here, you can view, download and print the guidance for each objective separately, or you may view the publication in its entirety at the link listed at the bottom of this page.

The publication brings together explicit existing recommendations drawn from the UN's Special Procedures and Treaty Bodies presented in line with the Compact's 23 objectives. The intention is that this publication will offer authoritative guidance to assist States in meeting the agreed objectives through practical actions

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November 2018

Foundations for Implementation

A guide to assist States in the implementation of the Global Compact for Migration. The publication brings together explicit existing recommendations drawn from the UN's Special Procedures and Treaty Bodies presented in line with the Compact's 23 objectives. The intention is that this publication will offer authoritative guidance to assist States in meeting the agreed objectives through practical actions.

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August 2018

Geneva Reporter

This issue of the QUNO Geneva newsletter features: perspectives on the recently concluded negotiations for a Global Compact on Migration, a brief overview of the current state of international nuclear disarmament discussion, an update on our work on climate change, and a QUNO Q&A  with Rhiannon Redpath.

The full publication is available online below.

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April 2018

Integrating Human Rights and Sustaining Peace

This report brings together the learning from a project undertaken from February 2017 to April 2018 to explore the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) as a vehicle for better linking human rights and sustaining peace. The aim of this project was to contribute to overcoming the fragmentation within the United Nations (UN) and promoting the value of integrated action between peacebuilding and human rights actors on the ground and in the UN system by using the UPR to explore present practice and untapped potential within a specific process. This report is intended to provide input to the discussions following the Secretary-General’s Report to the General Assembly on Sustaining Peace1 and to consideration of how to take this work forward in the UN. 

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December 2017

Briefing for Friends: Human Rights of Migrants under the New York Declaration

The New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants was adopted by States in September 2016 and initiated a two-year process to develop two ‘Global Compacts’ aimed at improving States’ response to refugees and migrants.  Our briefing paper provides an update on the development of the Global Compact on Migration over the past year and how the process is expected to proceed in 2018. QUNO has been working to support the adoption of a Global Compact on Migration that is ambitious, effective and human rights based.  This paper details how QUNO has been working on this issue and how Friends can engage with this process.

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