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report on 2014 events at the un in ny

Judy Mintz and the ICJW team at the United Nations in New York report on their activities during 2014.

For the past months the UN NY team has continued to represent ICJW at briefings organized by the DPI/NGO department, meetings of the informal caucus of Jewish NGOs, special programs of particular interest to the mission of ICJW and meetings of the various committees to which we belong.
 
All of us attended various programs and workshops at the 65th Annual UNDPI/NGO Conference held for three days in late August entitled “2015 and Beyond: Our Action Agenda”. The theme of the conference was the role of civil society in developing and implementing this action agenda.
 
Briefings on relevant topics included victims of slavery, education, global violence, the environment, human rights, climate change, and issues impacting older persons. Summaries were distributed on many of these sessions. There will be a Commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child at the end of November. 3

Recent JNGO meetings included a special briefing conducted by the Mission of Israel to the United Nations and a presentation by Kimberly Mann, the manager of the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme. In June, we again had the privilege of attending a meeting with guest speaker, Ambassador Ron Prosor of Israel.
 
Advocacy Activity
 
As part of our role on the Board of World Jewish Congress-USA, we attended a meeting at the Republic of Slovakia mission to the UN prior to the opening of the General Assembly.
 
We wrote letters protesting the US government decision to continue funding the United Nations Refugee and Works Agency (UNRWA) before completing a thorough investigation of the role UNRWA played in (possibly) storing arms for Hamas during the fighting in Gaza last summer. A letter was sent to three United States Senators thanking them for calling for a review of UNRWA’s behavior and to the Secretary of State asking him to take action.
 
After attending a meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, we generated a rebuttal letter to the presentation by Hanan Ashrawi, a Palestinian Christian whose half-truths and omissions do a major disservice to Israel and to fairness. This letter was circulated to members of the committee and to the Secretary General.
 
Committee updates:
 
Working Group on Girls-Recent work has focused on creating awareness of early forced marriage and the celebration of the 2nd International Day of the Girl 2014 including 11 Days of Action and Girls Speak Out. A new cadre of girl advocates is being selected. Mission visits are continuing as well as a task forces focusing on the post-2015 agenda and violence against girls.
 
UNICEF-Since June the focus of the committee includes a call for a global study on children deprived of liberty, the campaign for the US to ratify the CRC, and the bridge from the MDGs to the post-2015 development agenda reaching out to girls, children with disabilities, children in conflict, children impacted by natural hazard and children living outside of a family. The poorest and most marginalized children must be reached. Child survival, education, protection and participation are all areas of importance to break the cycle of poverty and to ensure future development.
 
Human Rights Committee- From June through October, four important meetings were held for civil society members.
 
Maintaining Human Rights Momentum for a People-Centered Post 2015 Agenda,
Honoring the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay as she summarized her tenure that terminated at the end of August
 
We attended a meeting with two high level members of the new High Commissioner’s staff who outlined a range of issues that will be discussed at meetings with special rapporteurs to be held for seven weeks in October and November;
 
A special meeting was held in October for civil society representatives to meet the new High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.
 
Another meeting was also scheduled in October with Ivan Simonovic, the Assistant-Secretary General of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in at the UN in New York(OHCHR): “OHCRC Recommended Principles and Guidelines for Human Rights at International Borders”.
 
Council of Organizations- The Council of Organizations is a division of the United Nations Association of the United States of America and the United Nations Foundation (COO/UNA-USA) consisting of about 60 non-governmental organizations. There have been monthly meetings for the past six months of the COO where ICJW is represented on the Executive Committee. We are in the beginning stages of planning a parallel event for CSW59 to be co-sponsored by ICJW and the Council of Organizations.