Ebola Trend Report In West Africa

   Mr. Nabarro briefed the UN on Wednesday on Ebola and the work he has been doing. He mentioned that the number of people with Ebola in West Africa has declined in recent months even though the outbreak is not completely over. The good news is that transmission of the virus has stopped in Liberia and Sierra Leone and both countries are in a 90-day period of enhanced surveillance as they are determined to avoid a recurrence. The trend in Guinea is also positive and the country started its own countdown to having an interval of 42 days after the last case. Mr. Nabarro expressed his delight in the leadership that has been shown in all 3 of the affected countries and also at the way in which the international community continues to be engaged.

He also discussed his priorities going forward. First and foremost, Mr. Nabarro wants to ensure that survivors are able to maintain good hygiene, practice safe sex, receive psychological and medical support, and in some cases economic support as well. He also wants countries to have the capacity to protect, detect, and to respond in place to any possible resurgence. Finally, Mr. Nabarro wants to honor those affected by outbreak by making sure that such deadly diseases are dealt with in a better manner in the future.

For the WHO, Mr. Nabarro also had three recommendations that have been accepted by the WHO’s director-general. They included the WHO being neutral and free of political pressures, instituting a powerful and integrated program for outbreaks and emergencies, and independent oversight of the organization.

Meeting: Press briefing by the Spokesperson [Guest: Dr. David Nabarro, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Ebola]

Speaker: Dr. David Nabarro, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Ebola

Written By: WIT Representative Tania Makker

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Post-Genocide Justice: Reconciliation in Rwanda

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Today, the Rwandan government hosted an event to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide and to discuss the need for justice and reconciliation as important pillars in rebuilding Rwandan society. Ambassador of Rwanda, H.E. Nduhungirehe began the discussion by pointing out the main challenge of genocide reconciliation: how to provide redress for victims, while at the same time holding perpetrators accountable and restoring harmony among Rwandans. One way this was achieved was through the establishment of the Gacaca Courts across Rwandan towns and villages.

The Gacaca courts are a traditional community-run court system established in order to find out the truth about what happened during the genocide, and hold those responsible accountable. Over a 7-year period after the genocide, the courts successfully tried 1.3 million suspects, with convictions and sentences decided by community leaders with a focus on reconciliation. Next, Mr. Miguel de Serpa Soares, the Under-Secretary for Legal Affairs, and Mr. Jallow, the prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), gave statements on the trials and convictions at the ICTR. Besides holding individuals accountable for their crimes, the ICTR also left a legacy of jurisprudence for international criminal law, which included finding individuals guilty of rape as a crime of genocide, and finding individuals guilty of incitement to commit genocide. The ICTR indicted 93 persons, 63 were convicted.

Mr. Minah, the permanent representative of Sierra Leone, then gave a statement about his country’s experience with justice and reconciliation after 11 years of civil strife. Through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Sierra Leone, survivors were able to publicly tell their stories, and perpetrators had the chance to admit their crimes and ask for forgiveness. Mr. Minah ended his statement by pointing out that true reconciliation is achieved through restorative, not retributive justice. Ending the discussion, Ms. Murekatete, a genocide survivor, shed light on the situation from her unique perspective. She pointed out that while the Gacaca Courts and ICTR had many successes, there were also many shortcomings. She suggested increased protection and trauma counseling services for those who testified at the Gacaca Courts, and for the proceedings of the ICTR to be made more transparent for genocide survivors.

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Meeting Title:
Symposium on the Contribution of Post-Genocide Justice to Reconciliation in Rwanda
Speakers: Mr. Olivier Nduhungirehe, Deputy Permanent Representative of Rwanda; Mr. Miguel de Serpa Soares, Under-Secretary General for Legal Affairs; Mr. Hassan Boubacar Jallow, Prosecutor for ICTR; Mr. Vandi Chidi Minah, Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone; Ms. Jacqueline Murekatete, Rwandan Genocide Survivor
Location: United Nations HQ, ECOSOC Chamber
Date: 3 June 2014
Written By WIT representative: Marli Kasdan
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