Posts Tagged ‘Ville de Geneve’

Geneva and the future of multilateralism

November 16, 2019

Cedric Amon in Digital Watch of 17 September 2019 reported on the event “Geneva and the future of multilateralism“. Although it did not deal directly with human rights, I refer to it anyway as Geneva plays such an important role as the world’s hub for human rights, featuring regularly in this blog. The event was organised by the University of Geneva in partnership with the Swiss Federation, the Republic and State of Geneva, the City of Geneva, the United Nations Office at Geneva, and the Fondation pour Genève. The event celebrated 100 years of multilateralism in Geneva in remembrance of the creation of the League of Nations in 1919, which marked the beginning of modern multilateralism and the rise of International Geneva:

Mr Yves Flückiger (Director of the University of Geneva) spoke about the three principles which have contributed to Geneva’s central role on the international level: universality, unanimity, and consensus. He also underlined the importance of scientific institutions for the cohesion of the international system.

Flückiger further called for a more inclusive form of multilateralism to face today’s challenges. Moreover, he said that despite the current focus on new technologies, the human aspect in multilateralism and international co-operation should not be underestimated.

Mr Ignazio Cassis (Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Switzerland) noted that the first general assembly of the League of Nations on 15 November 1919 put Geneva and Switzerland on the map of the international scene. This assembly also meant that Switzerland had to take on the responsibilities of a host state. He retraced Switzerland’s historical evolution and the official recognition of Switzerland’s neutrality at the end of the First World War (WWI). Cassis further explained that although the League of Nations had failed as an institution, it laid the groundwork for today’s multilateralism and served as the basis for a number of international organisations and scientific collaborations such as CERN.

Moreover, Cassis mentioned that the Swiss government had signed a joint declaration reaffirming their commitment to International Geneva and the multilateral system, introducing Switzerland as a host state during the 2020–2023 period. He also mentioned that projects such as the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator had already been created in line with the strategy.

Ms Tatiana Valovaya (Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva) underlined the importance of the League of Nations for today’s multilateral system and said that the League of Nations had created the foundation for the work of the UN, ranging from justice and minority production, to the improvement of work and the respect of international public law.

As Geneva is the birthplace of the League of Nations, Valovaya mentioned the importance of the Palais des Nations’ archives in Geneva.

Valoyava further noted that in a fragmented and polarised world, multilateralism is needed more than ever in order to address today’s challenges and to find global solutions to them. According to her, the multilateral system is not in crisis but transitioning. Therefore, it is important to shape this new system to make it more inclusive.

Mr Sacha Zala (Director of the Research Centre Dodis and Co-Editor of the publication ‘Switzerland and the Construction of Multilateralism’ (unreleased diplomatic documents)) explained that Switzerland has been very active in world politics over the past 100 years. Zala mentioned that the right to self-determination which was recognised at the dawn of WWI, created challenges for the unity of Switzerland and threatened to break apart the country. However, Switzerland has established itself as a vibrant centre for world politics, thanks to the many international institutions in Geneva and Bern. Multilateralism has since then become a cornerstone for Switzerland, the same way that Switzerland’s neutrality was essential to it becoming the host country of the League of Nations. Zala also mentioned the importance of hosting the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in maintaining Geneva’s status as a diplomatic capital.

Ms Heba Aly (Director of The New Humanitarian) moderated the debate. She mentioned that the most common symptom of the crisis of multilateralism is the incapacity of addressing the crises around the world, given that institutions seem blocked and the respect of International Humanitarian Law is fading.

Ms Laurence Boisson de Chazournes (Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Geneva) observed that there is a disenchantment regarding international co-operation which stems from inside the countries. She explained that this sentiment stems from the problem of sharing the benefits of global co-operation, which means that certain populations feel abandoned and left out. She urged for a fundamental rethinking of the collaboration, and is hopeful that certain forms of private-public partnerships on specific areas will help strengthen multilateralism.

Boisson de Chazournes also mentioned the impetus given by the sustainable development goals (SDGs) which are also contributing to reshaping the current state of international co-operation. Moreover, she spoke about attributing responsibilities to the private sector by adopting global, rather than national, regulations in order to help support multilateralism. Regarding Geneva in particular, Boisson de Chazournes recognised the efforts being undertaken, but noted that the next challenge will be to digitise diplomatic practices to create a more inclusive system, and reduce travelling costs for face-to-face meetings with different actors.

Mr Francis Gurry (Director-General of The World Intellectual Property Organization) pointed out that the architecture of global institutions to address the current challenges is outdated. He identified this as being the greatest challenge of the UN system along with the attacks on the idea of multilateralism. Gurry emphasised that this is a political problem, given that he does not see a political will to reform international institutions. However, according to Gurry, there has been a transfer of power and capabilities, from the public to the private and non-governmental sectors, which must be reflected in the architecture of the international system.

Furthermore, he went on to recognise the mostly positive track record of UN institutions and indicated that abandoning multilateralism is not a choice, given that today’s problems are global and need global solutions. Moreover, short-term projections are a difficulty for the success of diplomacy. He explained that diplomacy means building relationships over time, to build trust. In an interconnected world this is more difficult, given the ease at which information travels and how used we have become to finding immediate solutions.

According to Gurry, technical co-operation, such as is practised at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is a good way to ensure the sustainability of co-operation in an increasingly complex world.

Mr Jean-Yves Art (Senior Director, Strategic Partnerships at Microsoft) pointed out that we are witnessing an increase in human relations in all aspects of our lives, which relies on private infrastructure. Art indicated that because of this, private actors operating these infrastructures also have a responsibility to find solutions to problems generated by this increase in human connections.

Another important problem which he recognised was that 50% of the world’s population is not connected. Given the importance of new technologies, not being connected will prove to be a major handicap and important obstacle to development.

According to Art, multilateralism is often associated narrowly with the UN system. However, he believes that multilateralism goes well beyond UN institutions, as was proven by the numerous calls involving all relevant stakeholders (for example: the Paris Call for Peace, and the Christchurch Call). These dynamics from outside the UN system are now also finding their way into its institutions. He also mentioned the approach of the High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation which is spreading its recommendations through ‘champions’.

Ms Yusra Suedi (PhD student at The Global Studies Institute, University of Geneva) noted that one of the most pressing challenges of multilateralism is to find solutions on how to integrate different actors, such as youth, into the global system. In order to successfully do so, Suedi also stressed the importance of setting clear goals about the aim and extent of involving these new actors.

According to Suedi, the model of the Human Rights Council is a very important, and one of the most successful ones at the UN given that it managed to integrate the voices of civil society. However, she still sees room for improvement to include a more representative role for non-governmental organisations. For example, they could be allowed to introduce draft resolutions rather than simply expressing their point of views regarding the state of human rights in the various contexts.

750 NGOs in Geneva: dynamic ecosystem for international governance work

August 29, 2019

On 29 August 2019, the Département présidentiel (PRE) of the Ville de Genève published “Un écosystème dynamique de plus de 750 ONG à Genève” in which – for the first time – researchers of the University of Geneva have made a survey of the NGO world in Geneva.  The study – in French – has some fascinating key findings:

Read the rest of this entry »

Reminder: the 2019 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders ceremony Wednesday 13 February

February 6, 2019

 

A reminder about the ceremony for the 2019 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders which will be held on Wednesday 13 February, 2019 – 18h00 – Salle communale de Plainpalais (Rue de Carouge 52), Geneva, also known as Pitoëff. Please note that this location is different from previous years!

 

The laureate will be selected from among the three 2019 finalists:

Eren Keskin <https://171895.g4.mp-stats.com/url-955662790-4564377-05122018.html> (Turkey) is a lawyer who has been fighting for the rights of women, Kurds and the LGBTI community for over thirty years. She has been sentenced to 12 years in prison in March 2018, but is free while her case is under appeal. [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/01/29/eren-keskin-mea-nominee-2019-speaks-out-fearlessly-turkey-more-oppressive-today-than-ever/]

Abdul Aziz Muhamat<https://171895.g4.mp-stats.com/url-955662790-4564378-05122018.html> (Sudan) has been detained by Australia for 5 years in a detention centre for asylum seekers on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. He is a strong advocate for the rights of asylum seekers. [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/12/04/mea-nominee-aziz-abdul-muhamat-suffers-under-australias-endless-detention-policy/]

Marino Cordoba <https://171895.g4.mp-stats.com/url-955662790-4564379-05122018.html> (Colombia) is an activist fighting for the political recognition and rights of the Afro-Colombian community, many of whom have been dispossessed of their land for the benefit of mining and forestry companies.

The laureate is selected by the Jury of the Martin Ennals Award, made up of ten of the world’s leading human rights organizations: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First, FIDH, World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), Front Line Defenders, the International Commission of Jurists, Brot für die Welt, the International Service for Human Rights and HURIDOCS. [https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/10/24/breaking-news-ennals-award-announces-its-3-finalists-for-2019/]

Short documentaries on the life of these finalists will be screened for the first time, giving a glimpse of their fight and the particularly difficult conditions in which they work. The evening will conclude with a receptionhosted by the City of Geneva, allowing the 2019 finalists, the Geneva community of human rights and the public to exchange in an informal setting.

Last year’s film portrait of the laureate can be seen here <https://171895.g4.mp-stats.com/url-955662790-4564385-05122018.html>.

The City of Geneva has been supporting this award since 2005.

To attend in person please register now on the Martin Ennals Award’s website https://171895.g4.mp-stats.com/url-955662790-4564381-05122018.html, otherwise follow the live stream.

 

SAVE THE DATE: Martin Ennals Award 2019 – Wednesday 13 February

December 5, 2018

On Wednesday 13 February 2019, at 18:00 the Ceremony of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders will take place at the Salle communale de Plainpalais, Geneva. The City of Geneva and the Martin Ennals Foundation invite you to attend and register now on the Martin Ennals Award’s website. The ceremony is organized with the support of the Republic and Canton of Geneva.

The 2019 finalists [for more information see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/10/24/breaking-news-ennals-award-announces-its-3-finalists-for-2019/]

Eren Keskin (Turkey) is a lawyer who has been fighting for the rights of women, Kurds and the LGBTI community for over thirty years. She has been sentenced to 12 years in prison in March 2018, but is free while her case is under appeal.

Abdul Aziz Muhamat (Sudan) has been detained by Australia for 5 years in a detention centre for asylum seekers on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. He is a strong advocate for the rights of asylum seekers. [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/12/04/mea-nominee-aziz-abdul-muhamat-suffers-under-australias-endless-detention-policy/]

Marino Cordoba (Colombia) is an activist fighting for the political recognition and rights of the Afro-Colombian community, many of whom have been dispossessed of their land for the benefit of mining and forestry companies.

The laureate will be selected from among these three 2019 finalists:

The jury: The finalists and laureate are selected by the Jury of the Martin Ennals Award, made up of ten of the world’s leading human rights organizations: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First, FIDH, World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), Front Line Defenders, the International Commission of Jurists, Brot für die Welt, the International Service for Human Rights and HURIDOCS.

Screening of documentaries on the finalists and reception

Short documentaries on the life of these finalists will be screened for the first time, giving a glimpse of their fight and the particularly difficult conditions in which they work. The evening will conclude with a reception hosted by the City of Geneva, allowing the 2019 finalists, the Geneva community of human rights and the public to exchange in an informal setting. Last year’s film portrait of the laureate can be seen here.

The 2019 Martin Ennals Award on social media:

– its Facebook event

– on Twitter: @martinennals #Ennals2019

Urgent: Martin Ennals Award 2017 – live streaming of ceremony on 10 October

October 9, 2017

The 2017 ceremony of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders will take place on 10 October in Geneva at 18h15 CET. For the many people who cannot attend in person, there is the possibility of following the event on screen via: https://www.facebook.com/villegeneve.ch/

The ceremony is in English and French and features 3 short documentaries on the finalists as well as the announcement of the Laureate 2017 which the Jury of the MEA decided on this morning.

For more info see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/06/28/save-the-date-10-october-2017-ceremony-martin-ennals-award-for-human-rights-defenders-in-geneva/

Ceremony of the 24th Martin Ennals Award coming up on 10 October

September 18, 2017

Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders/

The City of Geneva and the Martin Ennals Foundation have announced the program of the 24thCeremony of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders. The ceremony will be held in French and in English at Uni Dufour, Jean-Piaget auditorium (U 600) on Tuesday 10 October 2017, at 6 pm. This ceremony will open the Human Rights Week organized by the University of Geneva.This ceremony is open to the public. Please register to attend the ceremony.  The event will be streamed. The key elements in the programme are:

see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/05/16/trans-defenders-karla-avelars-life-is-under-constant-threat/ and

https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/06/30/cambodian-adhoc-5-human-rights-defenders-surprisingly-freed-for-the-time-being/

Last year’s film portraits can be seen here.

The 2017 Martin Ennals Award on social media:

– its Facebook event

– on Twitter: @martinennals #Ennals2017

The three human rights defenders in the MEA ceremony tonight

October 6, 2015

This one minute trailer by THF is a good introduction to tonight’s MEA ceremony. Starts shortly after 18h00 Geneva time and can be followed on www.martinennalsaward.org.

Watch the live stream of the Martin Ennals Award ceremony on Tuesday

October 5, 2015

On 6 October, the ceremony of the Martin Ennals Award can be followed on https://www.youtube.com/embed/Bs5tMd0JWSA.

(at 18h00 Geneva time)

https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/06/22/martin-ennals-2015-ceremony-will-be-held-on-6-october-in-geneva/

Martin Ennals 2015 ceremony will be held on 6 October in Geneva

June 22, 2015

MEA 2015 nominees: Robert Aung, Ahmed Mansoor, Asmaou Diallo

MEA 2015 nominees: Robert Aung, Ahmed Mansoor, Asmaou Diallo

A very early “save the date’ announcement: those who need to travel from far away may want to note that the 2015 Martin Ennals Award Ceremony will take place on 6 October, at 18h30 at Uni-Dufour, Geneva. It is the event that opens Human Rights Week hosted by the University of Geneva from 6 – 9 October.


The laureate will be selected from among the three 2015 finalists, shown in the picture above: Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t miss the High Commissioner’s words at MEA 2014 ceremony

October 10, 2014

The ceremony of the Martin Ennals Award 2014 is over (7 October 2014). It was again very impressive to hear and see 3 courageous Human Rights Defenders being honored. Some 450 people (my estimate) gave standing ovations to the 3 nominees whose work was shown in impressive films produced for the occasion. The film portraits are already available on the website: http://www.martinennalsaward.org where there is also a short summary of the whole evening.

Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders

Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders

Especially the film on Chinese HRD Cao Shunli is a masterpiece given that the film makers had almost no images to work with due to the modesty of the human rights defender as well as her untimely death in detention only 2 days after her nomination in March 2014.

The internet has buzzed with congratulations and encouragements to the other two nominees, Adilur from Bangladesh and Alejandra Ancheita from Mexico. The latter became ultimately the Laureate [see https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/breaking-news-alejandra-ancheita-is-the-2014-mea-laureate/#more-5648 ].

One of the nicest surprises was the address by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights at one of his first public appearances outside the UN. UN HCHR Al Hussein The High Commissioner gave a moving and almost poetic description of the sorry state of affairs left to human rights defenders to correct: He said inter alia: Read the rest of this entry »