Advancement of Women’s access to Justice around the World

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Ambassador Mamabolo highlighted the South African constitution’s provisions on gender equality, and detailed the extent to which provisions are translated into practice. One novel practice is the impending legislation that mandates the government and private institutions to achieve a 50:50 gender ratio in the makeup of the employees, especially those at the decision-making level. Another practice is the establishment of specialized Sexual Offences Court, which provides expedient judicial process with regards to gender-based crime.

Dr. Hofmeister celebrated the Austrian accomplishments in implementing the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and also listed the domestic reform on family, labour and criminal law that give effects to the convention. However, she also cautioned the audience that the Fritzl case of a girl being locked in a basement reminds us not to be complacent in ensuring women enjoy their full rights. Dr. Hofmeister highlighted the positive role of women jurists in advancing women’s access to justice, a point which Ms. Duncan expanded on when explaining the importance of involving women in the justice chain.

Ms. Duncan commended the practices in judicial reform tailored for women in Austria and South Africa, and explained how these policies are reformulated and emulated elsewhere around the world. She added that UN-Women and other organizations focus on helping countries to undergo gender-based judicial reform, develop legal aid, train judges to be gender-sensitive, and cultivate effective informal dispute resolution mechanisms. In reminding the audience that the work on women’s access to justice is unfinished, she said that a number of countries still allow customary laws to prevail over women’s fundamental entitlement to inheritance, marriage and employment.

Ambassador Sajdik concluded by urging the audience to passionately champion for women, “for not a single country can claim that it has achieved gender equality between women and men” yet.

Meeting Title: 12th Session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals
Speakers: H.E. Dr. Martin Sajdik, Permanent Representatives of Austria to the United Nations; H.E. Mr. Jeremiah Nyamane Kinglsey Mamabolo, Permanent Representatives of South Africa to the United Nations; Dr. Lilian Hofmeister, Substitute Judge at the Constitutional Court and CEDAW-candidate, Austria; Ms. Beatrice Duncan, Justice and Constitutional Advisor, UN Women.
Location: Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium, United Nations HQ, New York
Date: June 23th, 2014
Written by WIT representative: Harrison Chung
Edited by WIT Representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark 

Tourism as a Potential Tool for Peacebuilding Efforts

A panel discussion, co-organized by the Permanent Mission of Austria, the World Tourism Organization and the Centre for Peace Research and Peace Education of the University of Klagenfurt, was held today to address the importance of tourism as a tool for peacebuilding process. Mr. Sajdik opened the discussion by sharing how tourism played the vital role in his own country, Austria, in recovering prosperity after World War II. He believed tourism can be a source of sustainable economic growth as well as the well-being for people. He carried on by highlighting tourism as building block for peace and harmony in which cultural dialogue and exchanges are embraced and promoted.

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Mr. Rifai referred tourism as global peace industry, where tourists could freely engage in local communities and share stories with one another, meanwhile break barriers to embrace multicultural understanding. He anticipated stability and peace could be uphold and foster in this age of travelling if we called upon ourselves to be global ambassadors, promoting mutual understanding, tolerance and peace through tourism. Mr. Al-Nasser, then elaborated by pointing out tourism is an enabler for peace and development, fosters exchange of ideas and objectives and helps to make awareness of the diversity of cultural backgrounds.

Ms. Wohlmuther, the author of International Handbook on Tourism and Peace, introduced her work and discussed how tourism can overcome conflict and culture peace in eight domains of actions. She illustrated the connection between tourism and peace by means of case studies of Alps-Adriatic Region, Columbia, Myanmar and emphasized the importance of global citizenship education as top priority to raise global awareness and develop empathy for diversity. She called for the practice of peace-sensitive tourism, a new terminology used in her book, to foster peace, promote justice and humanity and to solve conflict in non-violence manner.

Meeting Title:

Speakers: Martin Sajdik, Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations in New York; Taleb D. Rifai, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization; Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations; Cordula Wohlmuther, author of International Handbook on Tourism and Peace
Location: United Nations, NLB 7, New York
Date: 13 June 2014
Written by WIT representative: Tracy Lau

ATT: Race to Fifty

The Arms Trade Treaty regulates the international trade of conventional arms.
It aims to promote peace and security by preventing ‘un-governed’ trade of arms in conflict regions;
prevent human rights violations; and ensure that weapons aren’t acquired by criminal groups.

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                       Today at the United Nations Headquarters, a special event marked one year of the ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and a ceremony for newly ratified nations. Eight countries, namely: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Japan, Luxembourg, Samoa, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago ratified the ATT. Thus raising the total number of ratifications to 40, one year after the agreement was opened for signatures. The historic treaty has now been signed by 118 states and will become legally binding in international law after 50 countries ratify.

At least 500,000 people die every year on average as a result of armed violence and conflict, and millions more are displaced and abused. H.E. Mr Gary Quinlan, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia stated that, “by establishing, for the first time, globally-agreed standards for the regulation of the international conventional arms trade, the Arms Trade Treaty will help reduce illegal and irresponsible transfers of weapons which threaten the security of so many countries”. The ambassadors of the respective missions, hosting the event acknowledged and appreciated the commitment of the civil society in ensuring that the states remain honest in their road to the ratification of this treaty. They also urged and encouraged all states, especially those who are the biggest exporters and importers of arms to ratify the treaty.

 Meeting Title: Special event and ratification ceremony: “The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT): Approaching entry into force”
Speakers:  Permanent Missions of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Japan, Luxembourg, Samoa, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago
Location: United Nations Headquarters, Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium (CB)
Date:  3 June 2014
Summary Written by WIT representatives:  Apurv Gupta and Aslesha Dhillon 

The Right of the Child – The UN takes a stand

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This meeting focused on framing points of views of the right of children and adolescents. UN Representative Sajdik spoke about the atrocities being committed against children especially young girls in Nepal. In Nepal girls can be married as early as 72 months old to 12 years old. Such young marriage violates a young girl’s innocence and early pregnancy results in extreme physical pain, as their bodies have not had time to mature to a safe child bearing state.

The organization SOS Children’s Villages works with children who are orphaned, abandoned or neglected. They give these children the opportunity to build lasting relationships within a family. Their family approach is based on four principles: Each child needs a mother, and grows up most naturally with brothers and sisters, in his or her own house, within a supportive village environment.

Nadine Kalpar, the Youth delegate to Austria, spoke of her personal experiences and the abuse that she witnessed other Austrian children go through. According to the information and statistics she gave, all violence against children, including parents, is prohibited. However 30% of parents in Austria aren’t aware or are not threatened by this law, therefore the violence continues. Ms. Kalpar also discussed ageism in the job market. Adolescents and teenagers are viewed as “lazy” and “unreliable” when it comes time to land a job. This is an attitude that needs to be reversed for young people to receive their right to safe, secure work.

Ravi Bajrak, the Youth Delegate to Nepal, insisted that we cannot change the future if we don’t respond to the current violence and injustices against the youth population. Judith Diers, closing the meeting, stated that we can achieve anything with hard work, dedication, and most of all, trust within humanity to do the right

ImageMeeting Title: The Gov. of Austria, The Gov. of Nepal and the SOS Children’s Villages
Speakers: Judith Diers, UNICEF Representative; Mr. Sajdik, Representative of Nepal; Nadine Kalpar, Youth Delegate to Austria; Ravi Bajrak, Youth Delegate to Nepal
Location: United Nations HQ, Conference Room 7, North Lawn Building
Date: 3 June 2014
Written by WIT representative: Leslie Anokye
Edited by WIT representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark 

 

OWG for Sustainable Development Goals: Focus Areas 15 & 16

Focus Area 15: Means of implementation/Global partnership for sustainable development 

Focus area 16: Peaceful and inclusive societies, rule of law and capable institutions

H.E. the Ambassador of Bolivia on behalf of G77 and China acknowledged that the implementation process of the SDGs would determine the success of the program. The G77 delegates reiterated their support of Bolivia’s statement that the MDGs were weakened by the ill-defined implementation programs, particularly for the 8th MDG, and therefore action-orientated targets are key to maximising outcomes.

Delegates commonly asked that focus area 15 address; the removal of tariff boundaries, debt relief, market and trade access, prevention of elicit arms trade and human trafficking. H.E. the Ambassador of Denmark, Ambassador of Switzerland and representatives on behalf of Norway, Germany, France, and Australia, affirmed the need to engage with civil society, media and private sectors alongside multiple levels of governance for successful implementation worldwide.

State ambassadors and those representing the G77, Caricom, and the Non-aligned Movement have emphasised the role of peace as indispensable to the achievement of sustainable development for all states. In particular, H.E. the Ambassador of Croatia, focused on Croatia’s recent experience of war and corrupt governance, which has cemented their firm believe that factors of Sustainable Development are lead by safety, freedom of speech, inclusiveness, and institutions that are both accountable and capable.

Representative of Zimbabwe who spoke on behalf of the Southern African Counties expressed that the primary focus should instead be on the eradication of poverty, which would, in turn, provide peace to states. Representatives of Denmark, Egypt, Cuba and Brazil shared their concerns for inclusive societies and rule of law as a whole focus area and consider instead mainstreaming these targets throughout the paper amongst other focus areas.

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Meeting Title: Eleventh session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (9th meeting: Focus Areas 15 and 16)

Key Speakers:Co-Chair H.E. Ambassador of Hungary Csaba Kőrösi, Co-Chair H.E. Ambassador of Kenya Macharia Kamau and delegates on behalf of: Bolivia, China, Barbados, Iran, Papua New Guinea, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Benin, Lesotho, Colombia, Guatemala, Nauru, Denmark, Ireland, Norway, Netherlands, UK, Australia, United States, Canada, Romania, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Spain, Argentina, Sweden, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Bulgaria, Croatia, Switzerland, Germany, France, Singapore, Palau, Liechtenstein, Nigeria, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Latvia, Austria, Portugal, Cuba, Morocco, Egypt, Paraguay, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, India and Vanuatu

Location: United Nations Headquarters, New York

Date: May 9th 2014

Written by WIT representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark