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updates from the un committee on human rights

Fran Butensky is ICJW Representative at the UN NGO   Committee on Human Rights

When Richard Falk, United Nations Special Rapporteur, made a statement after the Boston Marathon terror attack blatantly blaming it on the United States and Israel,   ICJW and the New York team took a pro-active stance.  

A protest letter signed by President Sharon Gustafson was sent to every Member State belonging to the United Nations Human Rights Council expressing our rage and dismay.  Falk used his UN position to spew forth anti-Semitic and anti-American rhetoric.  The letter pointed out that Falk’s remarks reflected negatively on the United Nations and the Human Rights Council and urged that Mr. Falk be removed from his position as a United Nations Special Rapporteur.

Topics covered at meetings and side events of the Human Rights Committee have included:  

  • Economic empowerment of persons with disabilities – where we are now and the way forward post 2015 ( a side event.)  
  • Climate Change Initiative – Food, Security, Nutrition and Land Degradation:
  • Climate-Resilient Solutions. This was an interactive panel discussion that highlighted the following:

Access to nutritious food is a human right but there is a serious discrepancy between access and availability,. Climate change is endangering food security and has many negative implications for agricultural production due to increased environmental stress. Extreme climate events are more frequent and severe which puts areas currently suffering from food insecurity at high risk. Panelists discussed what might be done to reduce the amount of required production of food globally, meet food production needs of a growing and changing population and minimize the effect of food production on climate to ensure the livelihood of future generations. (Human Rights Committee.)  

  • Migration and Human Rights: Toward the 2013 High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development. 
This was a briefing on the High Level Meeting on Migration and Human Rights that was held in Geneva and organized by the OHCHR in preparation for the General Assembly’s High Level Dialogue on Migration that will be held in New York in the beginning of October.

Background- Migration is fundamentally a human process and not merely an anonymous “mega-trend” Migration is at its heart about individuals who are entitled to the full range of human rights. NGOs were invited to this briefing to learn about the discussions in Geneva and the upcoming reports by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights that was requested by the Secretary General.

·         ‘Migration and Human Rights: Improving human rights-based governance of international migration’ highlights a human rights-base approach to migration and the importance of ensuring an inclusive, participatory and accountable global dialogue on migration and human rights.

·         Another report by the Secretary General is on the promotion and protection of human rights and includes a practical analysis of how a human rights perspective can enhance the design and implementation of international migration and development policies. and development policies. (The briefing was led by Ivan Simonivic,  Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights.)