SDG Two: “Zero Hunger” is Currently Unattainable by 2030

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Goal Two of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is to achieve “Zero Hunger,” or further explained as  “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.” According to the World Food Programme, 821 million people (1 in 9 persons) go to sleep without food each night. An even greater statistic is that 1 in 3 people suffer from some form of malnutrition. In a global perspective, these issues are not necessarily from a shortage of food, but rather, a lack of access to it. Some may not be able to afford it, while others may be in areas with a supply that doesn’t support their whole population. There are even “hunger seasons” which occur in agricultural areas and communities in some countries. This is when food runs out between planting and harvesting. This is especially detrimental to people living in rural areas and farmers, who only rely on what is grown.

Most speakers were on the same page when speaking on this issue, in which, the world is not on track to achieve Goal 2 by 2030 unless changes and improvements begin now. The main topics and issues that were continuously brought up were agriculture, poverty, and climate change.  

Agriculture was brought up by most speakers who mentioned how it plays a crucial role, and therefore, must be prioritized and expanded. The representative of Mali talked about how the agriculture sector is the backbone of their country but is facing challenges like ensuring food to their growing population, especially in the context of climate change. Climate change is a huge issue which affects many other matters aside from food insecurity. Climate change deals with natural disasters, droughts, and floods which affect food production and distribution. Many also brought up the link between poverty and hunger/malnutrition. Poverty and hunger are in a cyclical pattern. Poverty is a driver of hunger, especially how most impoverished people in the world live in rural areas and therefore rely on agriculture to support them.

Meeting: Committee on Agriculture development, food security and nutrition; 73rd Session
Location/time/date: Conference Room 2, UN HQ-NYC; 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM,
October 12, 2018
Speakers:
● The Chair (Guatemala) Representatives of Egypt (on behalf of the Group of 77 and
China), Myanmar (on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Malawi (on
behalf of the Least Developed Countries), Guyana (on behalf of the Caribbean
Community), Maldives (on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States), Morocco (on
behalf of the African States), El Salvador (on behalf of the Community of Latin
American and Caribbean States), India, the Russian Federation, Costa Rica, the Sudan,
Algeria, Afghanistan, Nicaragua Jamaica, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Ukraine, Cambodia,
China, the United Arab Emirates, Tonga, Mozambique, Morocco, Brazil, Ethiopia,
Zambia, the Philippines, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Mali,
Finland, Indonesia, Nepal, Burkina Faso, and Saudi Arabia, as well as by the observer for
the Holy See.
● The representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Written by: WIT Representative Yasmeen Razack

 

 

 

The right to say no: 72nd session Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women

1506685855_eeb204dc36061d725f5db3e393c34229-1.jpgBad mothers. Loose Morals. Lack of femininity. That is how world leaders such as Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte and President Donald Trump refer to women’s rights activists. Both men have continuously made women the butt of the joke of their presidencies with Donald Trump’s famous “Grab her by the pussy” and President Duterte’s continuous rape jokes and command to shoot women rebels in the genitals. According to the Andrew Gilmour, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, this is the continued norm of how the world treats women.

The conference held on July 26th, 2018 shed light on the deeply rooted patriarchy engrained into our international system that has resulted in the championing of white males in human rights movements and the vilification of the women actually affected.

Lolita Chavez has been the target of 5 assassination attempts, two massive hate attacks, lynching attempts, accused of illegal entry, and has had more than 25 petitions filed against her in court resulting in a forced exile from Guatemala. What could cause this type of horrific backlash on a 5-foot-tall mother of 2? Her advocacy for indigenous people and the environment. In Uganda, Brenda Kuganza has been punched in the gut by a policeman, slaughtered on social media for defending victims of sexual violence and has had to witness her friends be brutally attacked, arrested, and/or killed for wanting the right to say no.

People trying to defend their territories and rights are sidelined – jailed, tortured, raped. Now more than ever, there is a need for concrete action from the international community but also a needed refrain by states in legislation and policy of repression action against human rights defenders. The governments in places such as Guatemala, Uganda, Nicaragua need to make the role of human rights defenders facilitative not restrictive.

There needs to be an understanding that human rights defenders are not performing a job. There is a deep commitment to protecting life, livelihood, and the dignity of communities. That is what empowers these women to endure layers of oppression and brutality.

Meeting: Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women; 72nd Session

Location/time/date: Conference Room 2, UNHQ-NYC; July 26th, 2018

Speakers: Michéle Forest, Special Rapporteur; Andrew Gilmour, Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights; Marusia Lopez Cruz, Senior Associate, Power & Protection of Women’s Activist; Lolita Chavez; Brenda Kuganza; Asha Kowtal; Miriam Miranda

Written by: WIT Representative Ariel Granat

 

 

Twenty years of the Rome Statute system and a look ahead to the future of the International Criminal Court

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http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/fight/Rome-Statute-20-anniversary-2018

This event took place on the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute. On this basis, the International Criminal Court (ICC) was established to prosecute individuals for war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of genocide. The discussion began by focusing on the withdrawal of Burundi from ICC. Speakers acknowledged the need for sufficient resources to deliver efficient judgment.

Concerning the investigation power of ICC, Mr. Stephen J. Rapp, former US ambassador-at-large for global criminal justice, illustrated the mechanism that ICC considers cases only after referral by Security Council. He pointed out cases which failed to be brought to ICC, including Syrian crisis and Rohingya persecution in Myanmar. Also, Mr. Christian Wenaweser, permanent representative of Liechtenstein, recognized the political reality of the dysfunctional Security Council and the consequence it has on criminal justice.

The discussion ended with speakers’ vision of ICC in twenty years. Mr. Stephen J. Rapp expressed his will that ICC could operate like a regular court. Mr. Christian Wenaweser expected that ICC could safeguard criminal justice at the global level. In addition, he called for an effective use of principle of complementarity. In this regard, he hoped to see cases of serious crimes to be firstly dealt within national jurisdiction. All in all, speakers agreed that ICC should operate effectively and efficiently.

Meeting: Panel discussion: Twenty years of the Rome Statute system and a look ahead to the future of the International Criminal Court (co-organized by the Permanent Mission of Liechtenstein and the Wayamo Foundation)

Date/Location: Monday 16th July 2018; 15:00-16:30; Conference Room 5, UNHQ, NY.

Speakers:

H.E. Mr. Christian Wenaweser, Permanent Representative of Liechtenstein to the UN

H.E. Ms. Aurelia Frick, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Principality of Liechtenstein;

Mr. Stephen J. Rapp, former US ambassador-at-large for global criminal justice.

Written by WIT representative Vivian Wang

Situation in Palestine

Palestinians Israel

http://time.com/5279345/the-breakdown-gaza-gas-prices/

This meeting is about the situation in the Middle East, particularly on the Palestinian question. In the opening remarks, Mr. Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the UN, condemned Israeli government of their actions against international law. He stated that the escalation of conflicts poses a threat to international security. Seeing this, he supported the two-state solution.

In response, H.E. Mr. Danny Danon from Israel stressed that Israel will not give up any sovereignty over its territory. Concerning the suffering of Palestinian civilians, he emphasized the contribution made by Israeli government in humanitarian aid. Also, he pointed to Hamas, the rebel group in Palestine, that built terror tunnels to attack Israeli population and condemned Iranian authority of their support to Hamas. Overall, H.E. Mr. Danny Danon argued that Israel was countering Hamas for self-defense.

Following the exchange of opinions, countries gave their national statements. H.E. Ms. Nikki R. Haley, Permanent Representative of US to the UN, criticized Arab states of their zero contribution to UNRWA. She compared that with the donation made by China, Russia, Turkey, Kuwait and UAE to the education of Palestinian civilians. She called for Arab states’ financial contribution rather than speeches in resolving the question of Palestine.

Russian representative, H.E. Mr. Nebenzia Vassily Alekseevich, believed that the only way to achieve a settlement lies in the meeting between relevant parties. Thus, he revealed the undergoing process to convene a Palestinian-Israeli meeting in Russia. Another supporter of UNWRA, China, called for the two-state solution. Similarly, France agreed that there is no viable alternative solution than that. However, France called on the US to shoulder responsibility to make sure UNRWA budget can be filled.

Meeting: Security Council – meeting 8316

Date/Location: Tuesday 24th July 2018; 10:00-13:00; Security Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York.

Speakers:

Mr. Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the UN;

H.E. Mr. Danny Danon, Permanent Representative of Israel to the UN;

H.E. Ms. Nikki R. Haley, Permanent Representative of US to the UN;

H.E. Mr. Nebenzia Vassily Alekseevich, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation at the United Nations.

Written by WIT representative Vivian Wang

Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People: Meeting 390

The recent volatile situation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was brought to the floor from the Permanent Representative of the Observer State Palestine and the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights. Two recent events were the theme of the conversation. First, the recent “Nation State Law”  passed by the Israeli Knesset reaffirming Israel as fully the home of Jews and abolishing Arabic as an official language of Israel. Arabic was an official language for over 70 years.  This also comes after the contested US move of its  headquarters to Jerusalem months prior.

The next event was the recent attacks on the Bedouins. Mr.Mansour, representing Palestine shamed Israel for a law that bluntly discriminates and is moving Israel to a state of “apartheid.” He called on representatives of experienced apartheid states, Namibia and South Africa to weigh in on the Israeli abuse of Palestinians. The South African representative echoed the universal scar of colonization in many countries and applauded Egypt’s involvement which resulted in a ceasefire.  He stressed that more states need to get involved and one measure includes stopping illegal business transactions in Israeli settlements.

Also, hundreds of Palestinian children have been put in jail without a trial, as a clear human rights violation.  The representative of Venezuela repeated the need to accept Palestine as a UN Permanent Member.  Evidently, the unrest and lack of peace between Israel and Palestine is historic, and it will take the global community to finally decide to take feasible action to attempt to resolve this sensitive conflict.

Meeting​: Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian
People – meeting 390

Date/Location​: Monday 23th July 2018; 10:00-13:00; Conference Room 3, United
Nations Headquarters, New York.

Speakers​:

Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights;

H.E. Dr. Riyad H. Mansour, Ambassador of Permanent Observer of the State of
Palestine to the United Nations;

H.E. Mr. Carmelo Inguanez, Permanent Representative of Malta to the United
Nations.

Written by: WIT Representative Mariam Elsaker

9th session of the OEWGA Side Event: National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI) and Human Rights of Older Persons

In view of this week’s 9th session of the Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing, the National Human Rights Instruments (NHRI) have submitted written submissions and oral statements, in response to the two focus areas of “autonomy and independence” and “long-term care and palliative care”. Following up UN recommendations, this side event addressed the main cross-regional concerns in regards to the rights of older persons.

Hearing briefings from the Philippines, Croatia, Africa and Latin America, this side event first identified that long-term measures on long-term and palliative care for older persons are not adequate across countries. During the event, representatives lobbied on long-term health care measures, particularly age ceilings of paid health insurance services and universal health care systems.

In addition, the event underscored the problem of inconsistencies with the definitions of autonomy and independence for older persons. In fact, they are often misinterpreted as decision-making processes and lack legally binding powers across countries. Member states are called upon to come up with consistent, legally binding international instruments to offer clarity on parameters of protection of older persons.

Older persons are the driving forces of our economic development and shall not be left as marginalised social groups. They should not be mistreated with social injustice or infringements on human rights. Integrated human rights-based approaches should be well incorporated with government institutions to safeguard the rights of older persons.

Date/Location:
Monday 23rd July 2018; 16:30 to 18:00; Conference Room E, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speaker(s):
Mr. Lee Sung-ho, Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission of the Republic of Korea and Chairperson of the GANHRI Working Group on Ageing
Ms. Lora Vidović, Ombudswoman of the Republic of Croatia
Ms. Karen Gomez-Dumpit, Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines
Ms. Florence Simbiri Jaoko, Special Envoy, GANHRI
Ms. Liz Vela, Expert, Defensoía del Pueblo del Perú
Professor Andrew Byrnes, International Legal Advisor

Written by: WIT Representative LAU Chun Ki

An exceptional book launch event: In honour of the Nelson Mandela Centenary

July 18, 2018 (Wednesday) marked 100 years since the birth of Nelson Mandela, the iconic South African Civil Rights leader. Underling universal values on peace, forgiveness, integrity, passion, respect and service, Nelson Mandela was an exemplar of dedication to advocate peace and promote social equality. Indisputably regarded as the leading figure of theUnited Nations, Nelson Mandela was renowned for recognising human rights with courage and compassion.

In honour of Nelson Mandela’s Centenary, the book titled “The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela” was officially launched today at the United Nations Headquarters. Enclosed with 255 personal letters, the book provided a remarkable insight into how the imprisoned Mandela maintained his inner spirits and engaged with the outside world. Not only did the letters underscore the importance of recognising human rights, Nelson Mandela also seized the opportunities of writing letters to draw attention from outside world to gender-based injustice issues back to the late 20th century.

“Whatever happened in prison, Nelson Mandela would keep his personality and treat everybody with the greatest dignity and respect.” said Ms. Zamaswazi Dlamini-Mandela, the granddaughter of Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela’s global vision to revolutionise the movement of civil rights shall continue to impact on our world.

Date/Location: Friday 20th July 2018; 14:00 to 15:00; United Nations Bookshop, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speaker(s):
Ms. Sahm Venter, Senior Researcher, The Nelson Mandela Foundation
Ms. Zamaswazi Dlamini-Mandela, Granddaughter of Nelson Mandela and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
Mr. Andrew Gilmour, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights

Written by: WIT Representative LAU Chun Ki

Panel on International Cooperation to Combat the Use of Internet for Terrorist Purposes: Opportunities and Challenges

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The Arab Union recently held a side event regarding the international cooperation to combat the use of internet for terrorist purposes such as misusing the internet for planning attacks, recruiting young people, broadcasting beheadings and using the dark web to acquire weapons – to name a few.

According to the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (OCT), the UN has created targeted training that covers the use of digital forensic equipment, online prosecution and the cyber currency situation.

States have taken alternative counter-attempts. In Singapore, for example, the most successful counter-terrorist organization is called Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG). The RRG focuses on providing clarification on what radical ideology and violent extremism are along with counseling services.

Organizations such as Hedayah, Etidal and the Counter Extremism Project are working with states and the UN to find the root causes and connections between the internet and terrorist propaganda.

The Hedayah Organization uses a psychological lens to analyze the process of radicalization. The Counter Extremist Project studies the reactions of internet platforms to extremist content, while Etidal focuses on the narrative of extremist ideology – specifically the roots/readings.

The most success in counter-terrorism has been found with private sectors. Facebook and Twitter have platforms that engage civil society by allowing them to participate in a way no other social platform has. It was reported that 1.2 million terrorist accounts were removed on Twitter between 2015-2017, however, only .2% were identified by governments while the rest was Twitter itself and users who report content directly. Yet, according to Tech against Terrorism, it is mall companies that constitute the majority of cases due to limited resources – nevertheless there is a platform in place, Tech Against Terrorism, to increase knowledge sharing with small companies as well as expanding efforts to governments as well.

Meeting: International Cooperation to Combat the Use of Internet for Terrorist Purposes: Opportunities and Challenges

Speakers: H.E. Salem AlZaabi, Director of International Security Cooperation Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, United Arab Emirates; Mr. Vladimir Voronkov, Under Secretary-General, UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (OCT); Mr. Yuri Fedotov, Under Secretary General and Executive Director of United Nations Office on Drug and Crimes (UNODC); Ms. Michele Coninsx, Assistant Secretary General and Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED); Mr. T. Raja Kumar, Deputy Secretary (International) Ministry of Home Affairs and Chief Executive, Home Team Academy, Singapore; Ms. Anneli Vares, Counter Terrorism Coordinator, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Estonia; H.E. Mr. Lazarus O Amayo, Ambassador/Permanent Representative, Kenya; Moderator: Mr. Ivo Veenkampf, Deputy Executive Director of Hedayah; His Excellency Maqsoud Kruse, Executive Director, the International Center of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism Hedayah; Ms. Frances F. Townsend EVP, Worldwide Government, Legal and Business Affairs, MacAndrews & Forbes, Inc., President Counter Extremism Project; Mr. Sultan S. Alkhuzam, Director of Global Collaboration at Etidal; Moderator: Ms. Alison August Treppel, Executive Secretary, Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE), Organization of American States; Mr. Brian Fishman, Head of Counterterrorism Policy, Facebook; Mr. Adam Hadley, Director, Tech Against Terrorism; Mr. Colin Crowell, Head of Global Policy, Twitter

Location/time/date: Conference Room 3, UNHQ-NYC; 15:00-18:00

Written by: World Information Transfer Representative; Ariel Granat

Fifteenth Annual International Human Rights Summit

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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights marks its seventieth anniversary this year. In recognition of international efforts to advocate human rights, the Human Rights Summit aimed to improve the state of human rights in respective nations and communities.

First, panellists underscored the importance of defending human rights in bringing about peace and social cohesion. The international community has been called upon to embrace the values of human rights, social justice and the rule of law. Unless concerted efforts are made to safeguard human rights, the international community shall have failed in its collective responsibility to promote peacebuilding, social cohesion and community resilience.

Second, the summit addressed local issues on human rights to eradicate injustice and inequality. From the perspective of police forces, Mr. Ricky S. Veerappan from Canada and Mr. Charalambos Philippides from Cyprus outlined how their police forces have established education centres to implement age-appropriate human rights measures. From the perspective of non-governmental organisations, they have introduced outreach programmes focusing on fair education, sanitary care for females, empowerment for youths and democratic citizenship. They have drawn international attention to marginalised, vulnerable social groups around the world, including children, youths, women and the elderly. Representatives from war-affiliated countries, such as Afghanistan, Syria and Sudan, further advocated that human rights are the cornerstone of achieving long-term conflict resolution.

Meeting:
Fifteenth Annual International Human Rights Summit (co-organised by the Permanent Missions of Australia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Morocco and Romania)

Date/Location:
Friday 6th July 2018; 10:00 to 13:00; Economic and Social Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speaker(s):
Ms. Mary Shuttleworth, President, Youth for Human Rights International
H.E. Luis Almagro, Secretary General, Organisation of American States
Ms. Mihaela Mecea, Third Secretary, Permanent Mission of Romania to the United Nations
Mr. Ricky S. Veerappan, Police Superintendent, York Regional Police, Canada
Mr. Charalambos Philippides, Deputy Director of European Union and International Police Cooperation Directorate, Cyprus Police
Ms. Anne Nolan, Manager, Integration and Support Unit, Ireland
Ms. Isabele Miranda Wallace, President, Asociación Alto al Secuestro (Stop the Killings), Mexico
Mr. Luis Hernando Redondo Melo, President, Association of Training, Guidance, Refugee Aid and Emigrant (FOARE), Spain
Ms. Mary Consolata Namagambe, Founder, She for She, Uganda
Ms. Frida Farrell, Co-Producer, Selling Isobel
Ms. Kerri Kasem, Founder, Kasem Cares, United States

Written by: WIT Representative LAU Chun Ki

International Narcotics Control Board Side Event: Drug Control Treaty Compliance, Human Rights and the SDGs

In preparation for this week’s ECOSOC Coordination and Management Meeting, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) launched the event to outline the progress of the drug control treaty compliance. Mr. Viroj Sumvai quoted the Special Session of the General Assembly (UNGASS) 2016 on world drug problem, reaffirming the control conventions as the cornerstone of the international drug control problem. He further indicated that INCB’s drug conventions now enjoy nearly universal adherence. However, he emphasised the need for achieving consensus by all member states to bring complete realisation of SDG#3.

Apart from drug control treaty compliance, the event also discussed the relationship between drug control and protection of human rights. In view of escalating humanitarian crises around the world, Mr. Viroj Sumvai urged the need for the international community to provide essential medicines, which include all psychotropic medication. He justified that successful and sustainable drug control action depended on consistencies with international human right standards.

Last but not least, the event glimpsed how drug control policies and programmes could achieve SDGs. Ms. Marie Chatardová echoed the findings of High Level Political Forum 2018 (HLPF 2018) that the progress of SDG#3 has been closely measured across countries. Measurement indicators under SDG#3 include drug access, drug treatment and drug rehabilitation. In addition to SDG#3, H.E. Alicia Buenrostro Massieu stated that more than half of the SDGs are achieved in line with drug control. For example, drug control could promote resilient cities from drug trafficking and thus achieve SDG#11. Monitoring illicit drug trafficking across borders could foster global partnership for sustainable development and thus achieve SDG#17.

Meeting:
International Narcotics Control Board Side Event: Drug Control Treaty Compliance, Human Rights and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Date/Location:

Monday 2nd July 2018; 13:15-14:30; Conference Room 7, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speaker(s):
Ms. Marie Chatardová, President, Economic and Social Council
Mr. Viroj Sumyai, President, International Narcotics Control Board
Ms. Marie Chatardová, Permanent Representative of Czech Republic to the United Nations
Mr. Stefano Berterame, Chief of the INCB Secretariat’s Narcotic Control and Estimates Section
H.E. Alicia Buenrostro Massieu, Chairperson, Bureau of The Commission on Narcotic

Drugs, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Written by: WIT Representative LAU Chun Ki