Office to the United Nations - Geneva

Lettre du Président et des Officiers de l’AWC au Président de la République française

In Current Events, Europe, Human Rights, Solidarity on January 7, 2015 at 5:21 PM

LETTRE DU PRÉSIDENT ET DES OFFICIERS DE L’AWC AU PRÉSIDENT DE LA RÉPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE

awc-un-geneva-logo

Monsieur François HOLLANDE
Président de la République française
Palais de l’Elysée
55 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré
75008 PARIS

Le 7 janvier 2015

Monsieur le Président de la République,

L’Association of World Citizens (ci-après, l’AWC) vous exprime sa profonde tristesse et son indignation quant à l’attentat terroriste qui a touché ce matin les locaux du journal Charlie Hebdo à Paris, tuant deux fonctionnaires de la Police nationale ainsi que dix membres du personnel de Charlie Hebdo, parmi lesquels le journaliste Bernard MARIS ainsi que les dessinateurs humoristiques Cabu, Charb, Tignous et Wolinski.

Il est inadmissible que quiconque s’en prenne, pour quelque raison que ce soit, à des civils désarmés et en particulier à des journalistes qui tentent de faire leur travail.

Nous tenons à assurer le Gouvernement et le peuple français de la plus entière solidarité et de l’indéfectible soutien moral de notre association face à cet attaque terroriste.

Il ressort par ailleurs des informations dont nous disposons que les auteurs de cet attentat auraient crié des propos à connotation islamiste. Dès lors, eu égard au climat de tension extrême régnant dans votre pays en raison des déclarations et écrits hostiles à la communauté musulmane de certains écrivains et polémistes français au cours des dernières semaines, l’AWC ne peut que craindre le pire quant aux risques, réels et présents, d’amalgames et de représailles à l’’encontre des Français(e)s et ressortissant(e)s étrangers(ères) de confession musulmane, ce qui serait là encore inacceptable.

Nous appelons les autorités françaises à veiller en permanence à la protection de la population contre de tels risques, nul n’étant jamais coupable sur la seule foi de sa religion et l’idéologie politique islamiste ne pouvant quand bien même être confondue avec l’Islam qui est une importante religion mondiale.

En vous souhaitant ainsi qu’au peuple français tout le courage nécessaire face à cette épreuve tragique,

Nous vous prions de croire, Monsieur le Président de la République, en l’assurance de notre très haute considération.

Prof. René WADLOW
Président

Bernard HENRY
Officier des Relations extérieures

Cherifa MAAOUI
Officier de Liaison,
Afrique du Nord & Moyen-Orient

Noura ADDAD, Avocat
Officier juridique

December 18: International Migrants Day

In Africa, Asia, Being a World Citizen, Current Events, Environmental protection, Europe, Fighting Racism, Human Development, Human Rights, Middle East & North Africa, Solidarity, United Nations, World Law on December 17, 2014 at 11:33 PM

DECEMBER 18: INTERNATIONAL MIGRANTS DAY
By René Wadlow

 

“Let us make migration work for the benefit of migrants and countries alike. We owe this to the millions of migrants who, through their courage, vitality and dreams, help make our societies more prosperous, resilient and diverse.”

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations.

 

In December 2000, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly proclaimed December 18 as the International Migrants Day. The day was chosen to highlight that on a December 18, the UN had adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrants Workers and Members of Their Families. Although migration to and from countries is a worldwide flow of people, only 42 countries, basically Latin American, North and West African, Indonesia and the Philippines, have ratified the Convention. The Convention created a Committee on Migrant Workers which meets in Geneva to review once every four years a report of the Convention members on their application of the Convention. The Convention also created a mechanism by which the Committee could receive individual complaints. Only three States have ratified this individual complaints mechanism: Mexico, Guatemala and Uruguay.

Today, there are some 232 million persons who reside and work outside their country of birth. The reasons for migration are diverse − most often economic, but also refugees from armed conflicts and oppression, and increasingly what are called “ecological refugees” − persons who leave their home area due to changing environmental conditions: drought, floods, rising sea levels etc. Global warming may increase the number of these ecological refugees.

After war, persecution, and poverty, a new danger is now driving people away from their homes in their millions – climate change. (C) Tck Tck Tck

After war, persecution, and poverty, a new danger is now driving people away from their homes in their millions – climate change. (C) Tck Tck Tck

Although migration is an important issue with a multitude of consequences in both countries of origin and destination, the Committee on Migrant Workers, a group of experts who function in their individual capacity and not as representatives of the State of which they are citizens, has a low profile among what are called “UN Treaty Bodies” – the committees which review the reports of States which have ratified UN human rights conventions such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights or the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Since the great majority of States receiving migrants − Western Europe and North America – have not ratified the Convention on Migrant Workers, other ways have to be found within the UN system to look at migration issues. Thus has been created outside the UN system but in close cooperation with the UN, the Global Forum on Migration and Development and the Global Migration Group to address the opportunities and challenges of international migration. Within the UN, there was the recent, October 2013 “High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development”.

In 2013 the Conservative-led Government of the United Kingdom publicly called on undocumented migrants to “go home or face arrest”, a move that was basically inhumane and completely out of place. ( (C) Socialist Party of Great Britain)

In 2013 the Conservative-led Government of the United Kingdom publicly called on undocumented migrants to “go home or face arrest”, a move that was basically inhumane and completely out of place. (C) Socialist Party of Great Britain)

The Governments at the Dialogue unanimously adopted a Declaration (A/68/L.5) calling for greater cooperation to address the challenges of irregular migration and to facilitate safe, orderly and regular migration. The Declaration also emphasized the need to respect the human rights of migrants and to promote international labor standards. The Declaration strongly condemns manifestations of racism and intolerance and stresses the need to improve public perceptions of migrants.

UN conferences and such dialogues or forums serve as a magnet, pulling Governments to agree to higher ideals and standards collectively than they would proclaim individually. This is not only hypocrisy − though there is certainly an element of hypocrisy as Governments have no plans to put these aims into practice. Rather it is a sort of “collective unconscious” of Government representatives who have a vision of an emerging world society based on justice and peace.

 

In 2010 two French singers, Stanislas and Mike Ibrahim, released a song entitled “Tu verras en France” (“You’ll see in France”). In this song, the two young men call for attention to the situation of migrants who leave their home countries hoping to find a better life in France but end up undocumented and living in extreme poverty, constantly having to run from the police if they don’t want to end up in jail or sent back to their country of origin.

 

The role of nongovernmental organizations is to remind constantly Government representatives that it is they who have written the text and voted for it without voicing reservations. Numerous States which ratified the International Convention on Migrant Workers made reservations limiting the application of the Convention on their territory. Thus, the Declaration of the High-level Dialogue was not written by the Association of World Citizens but by Government diplomats.

The Declaration is a strong text and covers most of the important issues, including human mobility as a key factor for sustainable development, the role of women and girls who represent nearly half of all migrants, the need to protect the rights of migrant children and the role of remittances to families.

The Declaration merits to be better known and widely quoted in the on-going discussions and debates on migration policies and practices.

Prof. René Wadlow is President of the Association of World Citizens.

“A Living Thing is Born”

In Being a World Citizen, Conflict Resolution, Human Development, International Justice, The Search for Peace, United Nations, World Law on November 15, 2014 at 4:18 PM

“A LIVING THING IS BORN”
by René Wadlow

 

 

November 15, 1920 – The First Assembly of the League of Nations, Geneva

 

 

 

“A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small States alike.” President Woodrow Wilson. The last of the fourteen points in which he set out in January 1918 the Allied war aims.

November 15 marks the anniversary of the first session of the Assembly of the League of Nations. Representatives of 44 States entered La Salle de la Réformation in central Geneva. The Salle had been built originally as a meeting place for Protestant refugees from France and Italy who needed a place of worship and a place for discussions and welfare. In the large hall, there was Léon Bourgeois, the oldest delegate and a long-time French worker for peace. Ignace Paderewski headed the Polish delegation in a room where he had given piano concerts. There was Lord Robert Cecil, who with Jan Christian Smuts of South Africa was a principle author of the League Covenant. There were delegates from South Africa and India which had “dominion status” but were not yet fully independent.

Significant were the countries not represented: the USA, the USSR, Germany, Austria and Hungary − all of whom had participated in parts of the First World War. Woodrow Wilson had welcomed the birth of the League of Nations: “A living thing is born.” Unfortunately, the League ran into difficulties from the start. The United States refused to join; too long a time elapsed before Germany was admitted or the USSR asked to join. The legacy of the First World War, codified in the Versailles Treaty, upset both the political and economic climate: huge reparations due by Germany, the payment of large debts by the Allies to the US, monetary collapse in several countries and economic protectionism rampant. All this contributed to the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The greatest trouble, however, was the mentality of the officials in national foreign ministries and war offices who were thinking in terms of the balance of power and who could not bring themselves to face new challenges. Nor was there among the general public a sense of global citizenship, of world loyalty which might have influenced government leaders in a more positive direction. Even today, as Brian Urquhart has said of the United Nations (UN), “There has yet to emerge, on the international scene, a great combined popular constituency to insist on the necessity of a respected central order and an orderly process of law and the keeping of peace.” However, there were real contributions of the League to the development of world institutions. The UN’s structure is that of the League − only the names have been changed: The League Assembly became the General Assembly, the League Council became the Security Council, the Mandates Commission became the Trusteeship Council.

A crucial contribution was the creation of an impartial civil service responsible only to the head of the organization under the obligation not to accept instructions from any government or outside authority. The League created a high quality staff under the direction of the first Secretary-General, Sir Eric Drummond, who served from the start until 1933.

The League also provided the starting point for future work on refugees, drug control, health and agriculture through its close cooperation with the International Institute of Agriculture set up in Rome. The International Labor Organization functioned alongside the League, its budget being voted by the League Assembly.

Looking back, we can mark the progress not only of the institutions but also the persons who shape them. A new breed of international civil servants are evolving within world organizations and non-governmental organizations active within the UN system to make this earth a true home for humanity. They have dedicated themselves to the same tasks that the League began but left unfinished.

Prof. René Wadlow is President of the Association of World Citizens.

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