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.
Event of Note
November 2018

Foundations for Implementation: the launch of a new publication for States for the Global Compact for Migration

This December, representatives from the Human Rights and Refugees programme will travel to Marrakesh to attend the 2018 Intergovernmental Conference to Adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

There they will launch a new publication, entitled '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. The hope is that this will contribute to a shift in migration governance, and the support of an ambitious, effective and human rights based implementation of the Global Compact.

On Sunday 9th December QUNO will be launching 'Foundations for Implementation' at a side event at Marrakesh entitled 'Advising for Action: Expert Technical Advice and Guidance for Implementation from the UN Special Procedures and Treaty Bodies.

A digital version of Foundation for Implementation is available at the end of this post. 

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September 2018

Joint NGO Statement delivered at the 39th Human Rights Council concerning the Global Compact on Migration

On Tuesday 11th September QUNO delivered a joint NGO statement during the general debate on the first oral update from Michelle Bachelet, the new High Commissioner for Human Rights.  

The statement focused on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and called on states and the High Commissioner to make concrete efforts to ensure a human rights based implementation, follow up and review of the compact.

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September 2018

Statement delivered at the 39th Human Rights Council concerning the arbitrary detention of migrants

On Wednesday 12th September QUNO delivered a statement during the Interactive Dialogue with the Working Group on arbitrary detention, focusing on the revision and update of Deliberation 5, on deprivation of liberty of migrants.

The statement focused on the clarity on criteria for lawful use of immigration, and highlighted elements of the deliberation focused on the prohibition of the deprivation of liberty of children, the duty of individualised assessment, and the presumption of alternatives to detention. It tied these aspects of the Deliberation to the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular migration, and asked the Working Group to consider how they will work with States to support and advise them on the implementation of the Compact.

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September 2018

"We only have the Global Compact for Migration because of the witness of Human Rights defenders" : QUNO speaks at an OHCHR side event

On Thursday 27th September at the 39th Human Rights Council, Human Rights and Refugees representative, Laurel Townhead, spoke at a side event on migrants' Human Rights defenders, organized by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Paraguay. Laurel centered her presentation on the crucial role Human Rights defenders play in offering a counter narrative of compassion in an increasingly xenophobic global climate. She stressed how vital the witness of migrants' Human Rights defenders has been in creating the Global Compact for Migration, and how important it is now to celebrate its adoption, to ensure it has tangible power in improving the lives of people on the move. QUNO will be at the Intergovernmental Conference in Marrakesh this December, where the compact will be formally adopted.

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July 2018

QUNO publishes ‘Towards a Human Rights Based Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration – Paper #4 Compilation of Agreed Language’.

QUNO is working to support the adoption of an ambitious, effective and human rights based Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.  The Compact is the opportunity for States to strengthen the implementation of International Human Rights Law and build on the commitments they have made in the past. 

With this in mind, 'Paper #4' contains a compilation of agreed language that relates to the human rights of migrants from treaty law, General Assembly resolutions and Human Rights Council resolutions.  It has been compiled to provide an easy-to-use source to assist State representatives in ensuring that the Global Compact for Migration does not fall below or undermine existing standards.

This paper is part of QUNO’s paper series, “Towards a Human Rights Based Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration,” a set of contributions to the global compact on migration process.  You can find the other papers in the link below. 

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June 2018

UN Global Study on Children Deprived of their Liberty – Call for Input

Research is currently underway on a UN Global Study on Children Deprived of their Liberty and your help is needed.

The Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty (called for in UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/69/157) will shed light on the scale and conditions of children deprived of liberty, identifying good practices and making recommendations for effective measures to prevent human rights violations against children in detention and reduce the number of children deprived of liberty.

One of the chapters of this Study will focus on children detained with their parents in the criminal justice system.  The Study will draw on data from governments but it will also be based on existing research and on the experiences of children who have been deprived of their liberty with a parent and those who work with them. 

A call for input has therefore been issued to help provide the chapter’s Research Group with resources including research and reports on this issue, data on the numbers of children living with a parent and case studies.  Please click on the link below to read the call for input in full. 

If you do have any of the requested information please send it to Stephen Browne sbrowne@quno.org who will compile it so it can be shared with the research leads on behalf of QUNO and COPE, the NGO Focal Points for the Research Group.    

Finally, for updates on the Study please join the NGO Panel for the Study: https://childrendeprivedofliberty.info/   

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March 2018

QUNO speaks at a side event on 'Protecting the Human Rights of Migrants'

On 2nd March Laurel Townhead, QUNO’s Human Rights and Refugees Representative, spoke on a panel on ‘Protecting the Human Rights of Migrants’ on the margins of the Human Rights Council.  The Panel aimed to highlight the pressing need for the human rights of migrants to be respected in the face of the restrictive environment that is prevalent in many countries with respect to migrants. Full video of the panel event is available below.

The other panelists were Nils Melzer, the Special Rapporteur on Torture, and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Michel Forst, the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders and Pia Oberoi, an advisor on migration and human rights in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.  Opening remarks were given by Ambassador Zellweger, from the Permanent Mission of Switzerland.

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March 2018

The 2018 QUNO Review is now available online

Our new, March 2018 edition of the QUNO Review is now available for download. The annual report provides a brief introduction to QUNO and our way of working, as well as an overview of each of our programme areas. Learn more about our past year of our work and see where we are headed in 2018.

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February 2018

Promoting Peacebuilding through the Universal Periodic Review

In February, QUNO New York and QUNO Geneva, in collaboration with UPR Info, hosted a series of discussions on the subject of “Promoting Peacebuilding through the Universal Periodic Review.” These exchanges with the peacebuilding community in New York, come as a natural continuation of discussions in Geneva that aimed to raise awareness around the concept of sustaining peace and its relation to human rights. These discussions have been complemented by work with civil society actors from six case study countries undergoing their review under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process in 2017.

The overall desire was to support overcoming the fragmentation within the UN and to promote 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 Human Rights Council process – as called for both by the twin General Assembly and Security Council resolutions on sustaining peace (2016) as well as the UN Secretary General report on Sustaining Peace (2018). 

QUNO Geneva spoke to some of these points in February during the 37th session of the Human Rights Council High Level Panel on Mainstreaming, which focused on the UPR. To view the webcast (QUNO speaks at 1h56m) – and download the full statement – please click here

The statement emphasized that the cost of continued fragmentation is too high and suggested the following actions to support the UPR in better contributing to peacebuilding and sustaining peace activities of the UN: 
• Inclusion of conflict analysis in the UN Compilation and Stakeholders Compilations as well as National Reports. 
• Use of information prepared in the reports as part of horizon scanning and early warning 
• Making and implementing recommendations that intentionally link technical assistance for the prevention of Human Rights violations that if left unaddressed may lead to escalating grievances or even conflict 
The learning and the recommendations from the discussions and the case studies are yet to be published.

 

Photo: UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferre

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February 2018

QUNO to speak at a side event on 'Protecting the Human Rights of Migrants' during the 37th Human Rights Council session

QUNO's human rights and refugees representative Laurel Townhead will be a panelist at the a side event entitled 'Protecting the Human Rights of Migrants' on Friday 2nd March at 12.00 - 13.30 in room XXIII of the Palais des Nations in Geneva.  This event will provide an opportunity to discuss how to enhance the human rights of both migrants and those defending the rights of migrants.  Laurel will be focusing on how the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration that is being negotiated in New York this year is the opportunity for States to deliver an international agreement that will indeed protect the human rights of all migrants regardless of status and those that defend the rights of migrants.      

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December 2017

QUNO publishes a 'Briefing for Friends' on the development of the Global Compact on Migration

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 details 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.

The full briefing paper can be found below.

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December 2017

Read QUNO's latest Geneva Reporter newsletter

QUNO's December 2017 issue of the Geneva Reporter newsletter is now available online.

The latest issue features: a brief overview on our recent work on sustaining peace and food security, a introduction to the importance of agricultural biodiversity, developments on the right to conscientious objection to military service, news about our recent climate action publication "A Negotiator's Tookit," and a QUNO Q&A  with 2006 Geneva Summer School participant Tankiso Phori.

The full publication is available below.

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October 2017

QUNO co-hosts a side-event on irregular migration

The OHCHR, IFRC and QUNO together with the governments of Mexico, Switzerland, the Philippines and Portugal held a panel discussion during the last thematic consultation on the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. 

Focusing on the rights that irregular migrants have to essential services such as healthcare, education and housing, the panelists presented examples of initiatives and programmes that have helped irregular migrants fulfill this right in a practical and meaningful way.  These positive examples highlighted how the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration should also be drafted to facilitate greater access to essential services for migrants regardless of their status. 

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September 2017

The New York Declaration: One year later

On 19 and 20 September 2016, UN Member States made important commitments for refugees and migrants through signing the New York Declaration.  Exactly one year on, QUNO’s Laurel Townhead (Human Rights and Refugees Representative) joined other NGO representatives in an open briefing to member states to assess the achievements of the Declaration and the processes underway to deliver on the commitments made. Organised by ICVA, the event focused on how the two global compacts that the Declaration called for can be drafted to produce effective agreements.  

An effective global compact would recognize the existing human rights standards and contain actionable commitments based on these standards and follow up mechanisms that further their implementation. QUNO also delivered a statement with a similar message at the Human Rights Council on Monday 18 September (see below).

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September 2017

One Year Later: The New York Declaration and Leaders’ Summit on Refugees

On 19 and 20 September 2016, UN Member States made important commitments for refugees and migrants.  Exactly a year later, QUNO will join other NGOs in this open briefing to member states, organized by IVCA, to look back on those commitments and analyse the achievements so far and processes underway to deliver on those promises.

The briefing will cover both the global compacts called for in the New York Declaration and QUNO's Laurel Townhead (Human Rights and Refugees Representative) will speak about progress towards an ambitious, effective, human rights based global compact on safe, orderly and regular migration.

Further details for the event can be found below, and further information on QUNO's work on the global compact on migration be found here: http://www.quno.org/areas-of-work/refugees-and-migrants    

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September 2017

Key Messages for a Human Rights Based Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration

The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration must be grounded in international human rights law.

This is the central message of a new paper produced by a group of Geneva-based non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who are interested in a human rights-based response to migration at the UN level. QUNO convenes this informal group of NGOs, with a particular focus on ensuring a human rights basis to this new international agreement on migration, which is due to be adopted in 2018.

The full document is attached below.

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August 2017

The global compact for safe orderly and regular migration & the global compact for refugees: Share your experiences

The processes to towards two new international agreements, ‘global compacts’, on refugees and migrants are now well underway and as part of the consultation phases, anyone is welcome to submit written information relevant to with or both of the global compacts.

We are aware that many Friends are involved in activities on these issues, but we do not have the full breadth and depth, so we encourage you to share your experiences of your work with refugees and migrants.

The attached short document explains how you can submit information to the global compacts, and what sort of information would be most useful.

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August 2017

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Sustaining Peace: Developing New Insights into Peacebuilding

A successful and ground-breaking two-day symposium took place at Lancaster University Law School in the UK on 5th and 6th July 2017. This was the second event of a collaborative project between the Quaker UN Office (QUNO), Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) and Dr Amanda Cahill-Ripley of Lancaster University Law School, which aims to enhance knowledge and understanding of the role of economic, social and cultural rights (ECSR) in sustaining peace.

Diane Hendrick from QUNO Geneva introduced the event as one of the co-organisers, and Rachel Madenyika, from QUNO New York, made a presentation on Sustaining Peace: a view from the UN in New York. This event built on a previous workshop held in Geneva in February 2017, which brought together academics and representatives of peacebuilding and human rights organisations to identify the intersections between ESCR and peacebuilding in theory, policy, and practice.  The purpose of this symposium was to provide an opportunity for a wider group of academics and practitioners to present their research and experiences in relevant areas, to further enrich the debate and build upon the initial discussions.

The symposium brought together participants from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, international NGOs such as the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, swisspeace, Christian Aid Ireland and International Alert, as well as academics from University of Edinburgh, Madrid, University of Nottingham, University of Manchester, Coventry University Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, An-Najah National University, the Transitional Justice Institute and the University of Ulster, to discuss their academic, practitioner and policy insights on a theme or experiences related to the central topic of “Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Sustaining Peace”. 

The event generated a sense of excitement and possibility with specific ideas for enriching planned or existing peacebuilding projects with economic, social and cultural rights elements and the wish to take this work forward drawing in more collaborators from the international and national policy level as well as practitioners and academics with a view to increasing both peacebuilding and human rights approaches in these areas.

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July 2017

QUNO participation at YMG 2017 in Warwick

QUNO was excited to join Friends at Yearly Meeting Gathering (YMG) 2017 in Warwick. YMG is a week-long event held every three years by Quakers in Britain, that brings together Quakers, friends and families for an exciting week of community and movement-building. QUNO was represented at YMG by Lindsey Fielder Cook, Andrew Tomlinson, Laurel Townhead and Jonathan Woolley, and participated in four workshops, as well as both nights of the Groups Fair. 

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July 2017

Call for inputs to UN report on human rights of migrants

At the Human Rights Council in June, a resolution was passed mandating a new report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights related to the human rights of migrants. 

The report will be an important input to the developing a global compact on safe, orderly and regular migration, particularly to ensure that this new international agreement on migration is human rights based.

Information to this 'compendium of principles, good practices and policies on safe, orderly and regular migration in line with international human rights law' can be sent by any interested stakeholder.

Send all information by 24 July 2017 to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Further details are in the note verbale attached.

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