General Elections in the General Assembly

 

Today, there was a meeting held by the General Assembly. It was divided into three parts: the election of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Appointment of the judges of the UN Dispute Tribunals, and the Appointment of the judges of the UN Appeals Tribunals.

Mr. Mogens Lykketoft led the meeting on the voting and announcements of various positions. Mr. Filippo Grandi of Italy was elected as the High Commissioner for Refugees. The distinguished representatives of the Pacific, European Union, and the Gulf spoke their congratulations and support for Mr. Grandi’s election. His term will begin on January 16th, 2015 and end on December 1st, 2020. His responsibilities are to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve their problems internationally.

This is relevant to the current problem in Syria, which is the largest refugee crisis since World War II. The Office was created in 1950, and since then, it has helped nearly 55 million internally displaced and stateless refugees and returnees.

The Internal Justice Council recommended the judges of the Tribunals, who were appointed today by the Assembly. The statutes of the Tribunals were adopted and amended in resolution. There was a written ballot on the election for the Appeals and Dispute Tribunals, following the rules of procedure. Because the terms of the current judges are expiring, new judges who are eligible for election were voted for consideration. There are currently four vacancies on the Appeals Tribunal and three on the Dispute Tribunal from July 1st, 2016, to be voted for positions, which can be either full-time or half-time. This procedure for identifying suitable candidates enables the Council to place in an informal roster to possibly serve for the next scheduled term of judges.

Meeting: General Assembly 57th Plenary Meeting

Date/Location: Wednesday, November 18th, 2015; 11:00-11:30; General Assembly Hall

Speakers: Mogens Lykketoft, President of the United Nations General Assembly

Written By: WIT Representative Jin Yoo

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Break the Silence

“Break the silence.
When you witness violence against women and girls do not sit back.
Act.”
~ Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General

stop_violence_against_women 

Violence against women is one of the gravest infringements of human rights and affects women across every country in the world. Chairman H.E. Michel Spinellis opened the meeting by discussing the continued gap between an emotional commitment to ending violence against women and action that eliminates its occurrence.

The European Union formulated a union-wide survey with the FRA (European Union agency for fundamental rights). The Survey interviewed 1,500 women in each of the 28 member states to gather data that showed the areas in which intervention had been a success in the EU and exposed dimensions that lead to the continued attack against European women in their own homes everyday.

Mr Ioannis Dimitrakopoulos, head of the Equality and Citizens’ Rights Department at FRA, explained that the interviews involved questions about physical, sexual and psychological violence and the results were distressing; 1:3 women has experienced physical and/or sexual violence (at least once since they were 15) and 1:5 women had been sexually abused by a current partner in the previous twelve months (2011-2012). The interview discussions revealed that new technologies had enabled contemporary forms of sexual and psychological violence through online sites and messaging. Mr Dimitrakopoulos insisted the European community needed to change the cultural perception of law enforcement and other services so that women felt more empowered reporting the attacks, rather than ashamed or fearful, and then perpetrators could be convicted.

Mr Ioannis Vrailas explained that all EU member states have formed aligned legislation for the protection of women and insisted on the continued need for active political dialogue to continue promoting the inherent rights of every woman and young girl.

Ms Lakshmi Puri, deputy executive director of UN-Women, expressed her admiration of the EU’s groundbreaking efforts to create an extensive survey with the ability to be replicated worldwide.

 

Meeting Title: Panel discussion on “Violence against women across the European Union: Presentation of a 2014, European Union-wide survey”
Speakers: H.E. Michel Spinellis, Mr Ioannis Dimitrakopoulos, Mr Ioannis Vrailas, and Ms Lakshmi Puri
Location: United Nations HQ, New York
Date: 14 May 2014
Written by WIT representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark