UNHCR Current Affairs - 2020

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Geneva to host first Global Refugee Forum

The first ever Global Refugee Forum is being held in Geneva, Switzerland from 17-18 December 2019. It is being jointly hosted by United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) along with Government of Switzerland. At GRF the international community will showcase and exchange good practices at national, regional or global levels.

About Global Refugee Forum 2019

Objective: To give impetus to efforts to achieve compact’s objectives and translate international solidarity into concrete action.

Six Thematic Areas on which First Global Refugee Forum will focus: Arrangements for burden and responsibility-sharing, Solutions, Energy and Infrastructure, Protection Capacity, Jobs and Livelihoods and Education.

A successful GRF will see more states and other actors joining the response to refugee situation as donors, hosts and partners. GRF also hopes to enlist the ‘missing middle’- that is, those states that could either contribute more or host more refugees.

Participants: GRF will be convened at the ministerial level and participants will gather to address current refugee situation. It will be a high-level gathering of states and other stakeholders including UN member states, together with private businesses, nonprofits and nongovernmental organisations (including Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS)). High-level delegations from co-host Switzerland and from co-convening countries Germany, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Turkey and Pakistan as well as UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres are scheduled to attend forum.

Background

This first ever Global Refugee Forum meeting practical implementation of the 2018 Global Compact on Refugees (GCR)– which is a framework that represents political will and ambition of international community as a whole for strengthened cooperation and solidarity with refugees as well as affected host countries. United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) affirmed the Global Compact on Refugees in New York in December 2018. GCR seeks to improve world’s response to refugee situations by ensuring that refugees and nations hosting them receive the support they need.

Four objectives of GCR:

  • Share responsibilities more equitably
  • Enhance refugee self-reliance
  • Expand access to third-country solutions (i.e., permanent resettlement or other opportunities such as scholarships or work permits)
  • Support conditions in countries of origin for safe, voluntary, dignified repatriation

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Indian-origin lawyer Yasmin Sooka to chair UN commission on human rights in South Sudan

South African Indian-origin lawyer Yasmin Sooka has been appointed to chairman of three member UN commission (committee) to monitor the human rights situation in South Sudan.

The committee was constituted by the United Nations Human Right Council (UNHRC) resolution 31/20 which was adopted by consensus, the 47-member body.

Key Facts

  • Other two members of the committee are Kenneth R. Scott (US) and Godfrey M. Musila (Kenya).
  • The committee has been tasked to monitor human rights violations in South Sudan and make recommendations for the process of transitional justice, healing and reconciliation.
  • The Commissioners will serve in their personal capacities and shall provide guidance to the South Sudan Government on transitional justice, accountability and reconciliation issues.
  • It will also engage with regional and international mechanisms to promote accountability for human rights violations and abuses.
  • The committee will have tenure of one year and shall present a comprehensive written report to the UNHRC at its 34th regular session in March 2017.

About Yasmin Sooka

  • She has vast experience in global human rights matters. Currently she is serving as the Executive Director of the Foundation for Human Rights (FHR) in South Africa.
  • She was also a leading anti-apartheid activist and had served on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) established by former President Nelson Mandela.
  • She also had served on the UN’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Sierra Leone from 2002-2004.
  • She also had advised the UN Secretary General on accountability for war crimes committed during the final stages of the war in Sri Lanka

Background

The UNHRC had constituted Commission following calls for investigation into alleged atrocities committed by the government and rebel forces before an independent South Sudan was carved out of the larger Sudan in 2011 over the issue of ethnicity.

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