UN Human Rights Office to hold 10th Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria are inviting students from around the world to participate in the 10th Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition, which will be held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, on 15 – 20 July 2018.

The competition, which is held in English and French this year, is open to undergraduate and masters students from universities around the world. It will bring together up to 150 participants from as many as 30 universities representing Africa, Asia and the Middle East, Eastern Europe, South America and the Caribbean, Western Europe and other regions.

Below is a formal invitation to students to the moot court competition.

Nelson Mandela WHRMCC 2018 Invitation letter EN

The deadline for registration is 16 April 2018.

More information and registration are available at www.chr.up.ac.za/worldmoot.

Students who wish to participate in the Competition submit written legal arguments for the opposing sides in a fictional dispute (attached below) involving some of the burning human rights issues of the day.

10th Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition Hypothetical Case Version 20 December 2017

The teams with the highest scores from each of the five regions are then invited to participate in the final, oral rounds in the Human Rights Council Chamber in the Palais des Nations. The case is heard by a panel of eminent international jurists, including judges from international tribunals.

The teams that are selected to participate in the final rounds in Geneva are expected to cover their own traveling costs as well as accommodation and meals, although limited financial assistance is available.

The World Human Rights Moot Court Competition has been presented every year for the last nine years, and has become a leading human rights educational event. It is unique in bringing together some of the brightest law students from universities around the globe to debate contemporary human rights issues on the basis of a common UN human rights system, influenced by national and regional perspectives and experiences.

2018 marks not only the tenth year of the Competition, it is also an opportunity to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 100th birthday of Nelson Mandela.

If you have questions, please contact Martina Donlon (donlon@un.org) in DPI’s Palestine, Decolonization and Human Rights Section.

UNIC Manila and Embassy of Israel launch Butterfly Art Contest

UNIC Manila and the Embassy of Israel in Manila have launched the Butterfly Art Contest in time for the 2018 observance of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of Victims of the Holocaust.

Why a butterfly art contest?

In 1996, the Holocaust Museum Houston launched The Butterfly Project to commemorate the 1.5 million children who perished during the Holocaust.

The Butterfly Project drew its inspiration from the poem, “The Butterfly,” which was written by Pavel Friedmann. The poem expressed the impact of the conditions in the camp on the prisoners. In 1944, Pavel was deported to Auschwitz Birkenau*, where he was murdered by the Nazis. After the Holocaust, his poem was discovered.

Here is Pavel’s poem:

THE BUTTERFLY

The last, the very last,

So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow.

Perhaps if the sun’s tears would sing

against a white stone….

Such, such a yellow

Is carried lightly ‘way up high

It went away I’m sure because it wished

to kiss the world good-bye.

For seven weeks I’ve lived in here,

Penned up inside this ghetto.

But I have found what I love here.

The dandelions call to me

And the white chestnut branches in the court.

Only I never saw another butterfly.

That butterfly was the last one.

Butterflies don’t live here,

in the ghetto.

PAVEL FRIEDMANN, 4 June 1942

Under the Butterfly Project, students around the world were invited to express their empathy and hope through the creation of a butterfly. The Holocaust Museum collected butterflies of every size and shape. The display of butterflies connects a new generation of young people to the memory of the children who did not survive the Holocaust.

The Butterfly Project aims to teach social responsibility, respect for diversity and the importance of human rights.

In the words of one of the students who participated in the project: “I want to make a difference in the world, one butterfly at a time.”

One butterfly even arrived from space. American Astronaut Rex J. Walheim participated in The Butterfly Project in July 2011 while aboard the final mission of Space Shuttle Atlantis.

*Auschwitz Birkenau is included on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list with its official title “Auschwitz Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp, (1940-1945)”

CONTEST RULES AND GUIDELINES

Deadline for submission of entries: 15 March 2018

Who are eligible to join: Filipinos, 13-17 years old, BOTH in-school and out-of-school

Art specifications:

  • Size: A4
  • Medium: paint or watercolor
  • Color: color or black and white
  • Material: canvas, illustration board, other hard boards

Guidelines for Submission of Entries:

  1. Only one (1) entry per contestant will be accepted.
  2. All entries must be submitted by email to unic.manila@unic.org by no later than 11:55PM, 15 March 2018.
  3. You may scan your art in high-resolution, or take a high-resolution photo of it.
  4. Send the art file to the email address: unic.manila@unic.org with the subject line: Butterfly Art Contest Entry_(Your Full Name);
    • Attach a scan or a photo of your birth certificate to indicate your year of birth.

Contest Prizes

The top three winning artists will receive a trophy and art kits, courtesy of the Embassy of Israel in Manila.

For any questions, feel free to send an email to:

Teresa L. Debuque

National Information Officer

UNIC Manila

debuque@un.org

 

Towards a new global compact on migration

by Antonio Guterres

Managing migration is one of the most profound challenges for international cooperation in our time.

Migration powers economic growth, reduces inequalities and connects diverse societies.  Yet it is also a source of political tensions and human tragedies.  The majority of migrants live and work legally.  But a desperate minority are putting their lives at risk to enter countries where they face suspicion and abuse.

Demographic pressures and the impact of climate change on vulnerable societies are likely to drive further migration in the years ahead.  As a global community, we face a choice.  Do we want migration to be a source of prosperity and international solidarity, or a byword for inhumanity and social friction?

This year, governments will negotiate a Global Compact on Migration through the United Nations.

This will be the first overarching international agreement of its kind.  It will not be a formal treaty. Nor will it place any binding obligations on states.

Instead, it is an unprecedented opportunity for leaders to counter the pernicious myths surrounding migrants, and lay out a common vision of how to make migration work for all our nations.

This is an urgent task.  We have seen what happens when large-scale migration takes place without effective mechanisms to manage it.  The world was shocked by recent video of migrants being sold as slaves.

Grim as these images were, the real scandal is that thousands of migrants suffer the same fate each year, unrecorded.  Many more are trapped in demeaning, precarious jobs that border on slavery anyway.

There are nearly six million migrants trapped in forced labor today, often in developed economies.

How can we end these injustices and prevent them recurring in future?

In setting a clear political direction about the future of migration, I believe that three fundamental considerations should guide discussions of the compact.

The first is to recognize and reinforce the benefits of migration, so often lost in public debate.

Migrants make huge contributions to both their host countries and countries of origin.

They take jobs that local workforces cannot fill, boosting economic activity.  Many are innovators and entrepreneurs.  Nearly half of all migrants are women, looking for better lives and work opportunities.

Migrants also make a major contribution to international development by sending remittances to their home countries.  Remittances added up to nearly $600 billion last year, three times all development aid.

The fundamental challenge is to maximize the benefits of this orderly, productive form of migration while stamping out the abuses and prejudice that make life hell for a minority of migrants.

Secondly, states need to strengthen the rule of law underpinning how they manage and protect migrants – for the benefit of their economies, their societies and the migrants themselves.

Authorities that erect major obstacles to migration – or place severe restrictions on migrants’ work opportunities – inflict needless economic self-harm, as they impose barriers to having their labour needs met in an orderly, legal fashion.

Worse still, they unintentionally encourage illegal migration.

Aspiring migrants, denied legal pathways to travel, inevitably fall back on irregular methods.

This not only puts them in vulnerable positions, but also undermines governments’ authority.

The best way to end the stigma of illegality and abuse around migrants is, in fact, for governments to put in place more legal pathways for migration, removing the incentives for individuals to break the rules, while better meeting the needs of their labor markets for foreign labor.

States also need to work together more closely to share the benefits of migration, for example through partnering to identify significant skills gaps in one country that migrants from another are qualified to fill.

Third and finally, we need greater international cooperation to protect vulnerable migrants, as well as refugees, and we must reestablish the integrity of the refugee protection regime in line with international law.

The fate of the thousands who die in doomed efforts to cross seas and deserts is not just a human tragedy.  It also represents the most acute policy failure: unregulated, mass movements in desperate circumstances fuel a sense that borders are under threat and governments not in control.

In turn this leads to draconian border controls which undermine our collective values and help perpetuate the tragedies we have too often seen unfold in recent years.

We must fulfill our basic obligations to safeguard the lives and human rights of those migrants that the existing system has failed.

We must take urgent action to assist those now trapped in transit camps, or at risk of slavery, or facing situations of acute violence, whether in North Africa or Central America.  We have to envisage ambitious international action to resettle those with nowhere to go.

We should also take steps – through development aid, climate mitigation efforts and conflict prevention – to avoid such unregulated large movements of people in future.  Migration should not mean suffering.

We must aim for a world in which we can celebrate migration’s contributions to prosperity, development and international unity.  It is in our collective power to achieve this goal.  This year’s global compact can be a milestone on the road to making migration truly work for all.

The author is Secretary-General of the United Nations

Press Release: Managing migration is one of the most urgent and profound tests of​ ​international cooperation in our time

New York, 11 January 2018–​“Migration is an expanding global reality” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres maintains in his report released today. “The time for debating the need for cooperation in this field is past”, and “managing it is one of the most urgent and profound tests of international cooperation of our time.”

“Making Migration Work for All,” the report released to the UN General Assembly on 11 January 2018, is the Secretary-General’s contribution to the process of developing a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular. The report offers the Secretary-General’s vision for constructive international cooperation, examining how to better manage migration, for the benefit of all – the migrants themselves, their host communities and their societies of origin.

The report may be downloaded at: http://refugeesmigrants.un.org/sites/default/files/sg_report_en.pdf

The Secretary-General emphasizes that “migration is an engine of economic growth, innovation and sustainable development”. The reports highlights that there is a clear body of evidence that, despite real challenges, migration is beneficial both for migrants and host communities, in economic and social terms.

The Global Compact will provide Member States the opportunity to maximize those benefits and better address migration challenges.

The report points to an estimated 258 million international migrants, or 3.4% of the world’s population, with levels expected to increase.

While the majority of migrants move between countries in a safe, orderly and regular manner, a significant minority of migrants face life-threatening conditions. The report notes that around 6 million migrants are trapped in forced labour, and that recent large-scale movements of migrants and refugees, in regions including the Sahel and South-east Asia, have created major humanitarian crises. The report calls for the Global Compact to include a special strategy to address this.

The report underscores the economic benefits of migration. Migrants spend 85% of their earnings in their host communities and send the remaining 15% to their countries of origin.

In 2017 alone, migrants sent home approximately $600 billion in remittances, which is three times all official development assistance. Women, who make up 48% of all migrants, send home a higher percentage of their earnings than men, yet they face more restrictive labour policies and employment customs than men, thus restricting their economic income and social contribution. Member States are urged “to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls” as a central element of the Global Compact.

The Secretary-General encourages governments to work together to establish a productive and humane global migration system which would enhance, rather than detract from sovereignty. If governments open more legal pathways for migration, based on realistic analyses of labour market needs, there is likely to be fewer border crossings, fewer migrants working outside the law and fewer abuses of irregular migrants.

The Secretary-General maintains that a new approach to migration is necessary. “It is now time to draw together all parts of the UN system, including International Organization for Migration (IOM), to support Member State efforts to address migration.” The Secretary-General commits to work within the UN system to identify new ways to help Member States manage migration better based on the Global Compact.

Further information:
UN Member States will soon undertake the final negotiations on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. The Global Compact will then be finalized in 2018.

More information on the Global Compact: http://refugeesmigrants.un.org/migration-compact

Please contact:
Nora Sturm, sturm@un.org+1 212 963 9338
Office of the UN Special Representative for International Migration (UNHQ, New York)
Jon Greenway, greenway@un.org+ 1 212 963 2124
Donna Cusumano, cusumanod@un.org+1 212 963-1148
Strategic Communications, UN Department of Public Information (UNHQ, New York)