Some Activities Undertaken
Update: August 2006
The Human Rights Commission 13th March. There was a dramatic opening, with an immediate suspension of work to the next day. This was again repeated and the meeting transferred to the opening of the Human Rights Council on 19th June. We signed a statement concerning the work of the Special Rapporteur on Religious Freedom with many other organisations. Much frustration was expressed by many NGOs who had brought delegations to Geneva and were told to re-convene in June. We joined CONGO in making a joint statement.
Attended by: Trevor Davies.
April - May
Visit of Revd. David Peck, Archbishop of Canterbury’s Secretary for International Development. Visits were arranged to the WCC UNAids and other ecumenical bodies. UNAIDS suggested that someone attend the UN General Assembly Special Session meeting on AIDS (UNGASS) at the end of May. With support from the Archbishops office, Revd Paul Holley attended the UNGASS follow up meetings 29th May -2nd June in New York and Washington. His report provided useful pointers for the future not only in respect of AIDS but also relating to WTO matters and Human Rights. His visit has resulted in an invitation to submit a joint request for funding to the Global Fund in November with the Lutheran World Federation. Details have been sent to the ACO with a view to bringing together projects from throughout the communion.
June 19th- - 30th June
The Human Rights Council opened with much formality and security in the presence of the Secretary-General and President of the General Assembly, together with the Swiss authorities. The next three days were the High Level Segment and over 100 Foreign ministers addressed the Council. Only on Friday 23 were the substantive issues discussed. The HRC adopted an International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It also decided to hold a Special Session on the Situation of Human Rights in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories 3-5 July 2000 when they decided to send the Special Rapporteur on a fact finding mission. This has been superseded by other events. The second regular session of the Council will be held from 18 September to 10 October 2006.
In preparation for the High Level Segment of ECOSOC and its annual meeting in Geneva to be held from 3-28 July, a Civil Society Forum was organized by CONGO from 29th -30th June 2006. The theme of the ECOSOC meeting and the Forum was “Creating an environment at the national and international levels conducive to generating full and productive employment and decent work for all and its impact on sustainable development”. As Chair of the NGO Committee on Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns, Trevor Davies with his committee organized a Panel on 29th June at the ILO Headquarters on the theme “Economic Ethos: Would a universal basic income for all be sufficient”. The Panelists included he Special Advisor for Religious and Social Affairs to the ILO Director-General, a Jesuit priest and author of a book on ‘Philosophical and Spiritual Perspectives on Decent Work’, the Chief Economist of the World Economic Forum, The Deputy Director of the Ethos Foundation concerned with ethical investment and the former dean of Geneva Cathedral. This resulted in a lively debate on possible ‘Marshal Plans’ and a submission to the ILO who have created a high level group to study the possibilities. Trevor Davies was involved drafting the final Statement of CONGO to the High Level Segment. The CSVGC were privileged to receive a direct communication from the General Secretary Kofi Annan on Spirituality in the United Nations which was read out at the beginning of the Panel discussion (available directly from Trevor Davies).
This gave rise to the opportunity for networking and attendance at private meetings and receptions of ECOSOC. The High Level Segment was held from 3-5th July and was followed by the Coordination Segment (6-10 July) at which the regional secretaries discussed their programmes and coordination efforts. This was followed by the Operational Activities Segment (11-13 July) where the major agencies WFP, UNDP UNICEF etc reported on their activities. Humanitarian Affairs Segment (14-19 July) dealt with natural disaster and disaster preparedness. The General Segment continues until 27th July when ECOSOC ends.
In all this has been a very active period and the autumn promises to be no less with several important meetings on Human Rights and UNAIDS which will be attended by volunteers of the UN Representation.
Geneva Digest Dated: 24th July 2006