News Archives: January - June 2009
June 30th 2009
Global Humanitarian Forum highlights links between climate change and human rights
The world's foremost gathering point for humanitarian community leadership takes place every summer in the humanitarian capital of Geneva. The 2009 Global Humanitarian Forum was held on 23-24 June 2009, organized around the theme "Human Impact of Climate Change." The event brought together over 400 representatives from governments, UN agencies, the private sector and NGOs, and took place six months ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.
June 22nd 2009
Realizing the Right to Health - Whose Role is it anyway?
Following the recent publication of the book "Realizing the Right to Health", edited by Mary Robinson and Andrew Clapham, an international symposium on the topic was held recently in Geneva. A discussion panel led by Robinson explored a range of healthcare and human right issues.
June 5th 2009
International Labour Conference 2009
The member states of the International Labour Organization (ILO) meet at the International Labour Conference every June in Geneva, Switzerland. This year, special arrangements were approved in advance of the 98th session of the conference for discussing the ILO???s response to the employment and social policy consequences of the economic and financial crisis.
June 4th 2009
Let's Stop Women Suffering
Mary Robinson and Alicia Yamin argue in an op-Ed published in The Boston Globe that preventable maternal death is a violation of women's rights. With the United Nations Human Rights Council's June session just around the corner, they challenge governments to prove that they value women's lives by taking concrete action on this issue.
June 3rd 2009
Business and Human Rights at the UN: What might happen next?
This week UN Special Representative on Business and Human Rights, Professor John Ruggie of Harvard University, presented his latest report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. And in the latest edition of Human Rights Quarterly, Realizing Rights Senior Adviser Scott Jerbi discusses the evolution of the business and human rights debate within the UN system and reflects on where it may be heading in the time ahead.
June 1st 2009
Health Worker Migration Global Policy Advisory Council Meeting
At the most recent Health Worker Migration Global Policy Advisory Council meeting, the focus was on the role of the U.S. in the global health worker labor market. Mary Robinson introduced Sen. Tom Daschle to deliver remarks. A Memorandum to President Obama was developed, outlining the Council recommendations for U.S. policy response to the challenges posed by health worker migration, linking U.S. domestic health reform and global health outcomes.
May 18th 2009
Three Degrees: The Law of Climate Change and Human Rights Conference
Increasing drought, the spread of tropical disease, storm surges with rising duration and severity, and unprecedented human dislocation will reduce food security and access to freshwater, promote the spread of disease beyond normative ranges, and uproot millions of people who inhabit coastal regions. The legal community is in a unique position to spearhead innovative solutions to climate change to account for the basic protection of fundamental human rights.
May 18th 2009
Realizing Rights and Commonwealth working to meet the Challenges of Health Worker Migration
Commonwealth Health Ministers meet annually in Geneva on the eve of the World Health Assembly (WHA) to discuss and agree on Commonwealth health priorities. As the largest intergovernmental grouping within the WHA, Commonwealth Health Ministers make a substantial contribution to defining and shaping global health priorities. On May 16th Realizing Rights co-convened, with the Commonweath Secretariat, a Roundtable Discussion on the issue of Health Worker Migration.
May 10th 2009
Increasing Momentum for UNSCR 1325 National Action Plans
On April 24, 2009, Mary Robinson and Ambassador Swanee Hunt, Chair of The Institute for Inclusive Security, convened a group of prominent government, United Nations, and civil society leaders in New York to discuss strategies for increasing the development and implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) National Action Plans (NAPs) and to encourage creative international cooperation on NAPs.
May 8th 2009
The Reality of Rights
A new report published by the Corporate Responsibility Coalition and The London School of Economics and Political Science has revealed how victims of alleged human rights abuses committed by UK companies in developing countries are being left powerless when pitted against these large multinationals. In the foreword to the report, Mary Robinson said: "Multinational corporations today operate seamlessly across national boundaries. But the way in which the human rights and environmental impacts of major companies are governed is far from seamless."
May 1st 2009
Mary Robinson invites OAS members to lead on Human Rights
Mary Robinson praised the steps taken thus far by Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS) on Human Rights in her remarks at the meeting of the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs at OAS Headquarters in Washington, DC on April 22nd 2009. She highlighted the role played by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and in general of OAS in "promoting" Human Rights "not only in the Americas, but also globally".
April 30th 2009
Leading Perspectives on Business & Human Rights
Sixty years ago, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, calling on member countries to abide by its 30 articles. Today, companies around the world are expected to respect all human rights. In the Spring 2009 issue of Leading Perspectives, Business for Social Responsibility speaks to Mary Robinson about about the role of multinationals in protecting human rights, how to make voluntary initiatives even stronger, and why every company should adopt a human rights policy.
April 27th 2009
A Force for Growth
In these times of economic crisis, women should be viewed as agents of change and worth investing in as a smart way to help rebuild the economies of the world. We already know that investing in women is smart economics. If you want to speed up reconstruction, development and poverty reduction, the intelligent thing to do is put earnings in a woman???s hand.
April 22nd 2009
Earth Day 2009
2009 is a crucial year in the international effort to address climate change, culminating in the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) in Copenhagen, 7-18 December. On 22 April, marking Earth Day 2009, Mary Robinson spoke at the World Bank, focusing on the challenge of climate change.
April 20th 2009
New book by leading experts available now
Realizing the right to health requires a strong focus on strengthening health care systems and transforming health systems for women. In this third volume of the Swiss Human Rights Book series, leading international experts in human rights and health address issues such as access to essential medicines, HIV/AIDS, trade and health, SARS and malaria, and human rights approaches to other key health challenges.
April 3rd 2009
Health in times of global economic crisis
A slowing economy and rapidly rising unemployment have already affected or seriously threaten the living conditions of millions of individuals and families in Europe, and impose heavy financial constraints on governments. The World Health Organization (WHO) meeting in Oslo, Norway on April 1-2 provided a forum for discussion on how the health sector can help reduce negative health and social impacts and counter the economic downturn.
March 24th 2009
Mary Robinson joins social entrepreneurs from around the world at Skoll World Forum
800 delegates from over 60 countries gathered at the 900-year-old University of Oxford for the annual Skoll World Forum to explore how social entrepreneurs access, navigate and influence power dynamics in their approach to generating change in the areas they work and the wider world.. This year???s theme was Social Entrepreneurship: Shifting Power Dynamics.
March 22nd 2009
53rd Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women
The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women. The fifty-third session of the CSW took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 2 to 13 March 2009. Maria Butler represented the Women Leaders Intercultural Forum at the session and provides this account.
March 17th 2009
Robinson travels to DRC, Rwanda, London in quest for 'durable solution' for east Congo
Mary Robinson met with the UK's Foreign Office Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, Lord Malloch Brown to highlight the situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where civilians have experienced an upsurge of violence in recent months. The meeting follows a fact-finding mission in DR Congo, where Mrs. Robinson met President of DRC Joseph Kabila in Goma. She also met Rwandan President Paul Kagame in the Rwandan capital of Kigali.
March 9th 2009
International Colloquium on Women???s Leadership, Empowerment, Peace and Security
Coinciding with International Women's Day, over one thousand women from around the world gathered from March 7-8 in Monrovia, Liberia for the first International Colloquium on Women???s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security. The Colloquium was co-convened by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia and President Tarja Halonen of Finland. Realizing Rights played a key role in supporting the organization of this unique event.
March 6th 2009
5th Meeting of the Health Worker Migration Global Policy Advisory Council
The Health Worker Migration Initiative???s Global Policy Advisory Council held its fifth formal meeting in February in Oslo, Norway. The meeting, co-hosted by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, allowed participants to engage in an open dialogue, to share knowledge and to exchange perspectives about the issue of health worker migration.
March 6th 2009
MLI Meetings in Bamako, Mali
The Ministerial Leadership Initiative for Global Health (MLI), a program of Realizing Rights, held its first meetings in Bamako, Mali in November 2008, and announced a new emphasis on reproductive health policy. The meetings in Bamako featured Ministers of Health from MLI focus countries and emphasized MLI???s core principle; ministerial owned and ministerial led initiatives to reform health policies have the greatest potential for success.
February 18th 2009
ICJ: War on Terror Has Eroded Human Rights Worldwide
A special panel set up by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), a Geneva-based group of lawyers and judges, has published a study warning that measures introduced to fight terrorism - such as torture and secret detention - has undermined international law. The ICJ panel, which includes Mary Robinson, studied counterterrorism mesaures adopted since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.
February 10th 2009
Launch of the World Day of Social Justice
At its sixty-second session, in November 2007, the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed 20 February as World Day of Social Justice. The day is to be observed for the first time in 2009. At a Launch of the new day of observance at UN Headquarters in New York, Mary Robinson delivered a keynote address.
February 3rd 2009
Mary Robinson calls on business schools to take on the human rights challenge
Mary Robinson was among the guest speakers joining CEOs, politicians, business executives and a team of IMD Faculty for a Responsible Leadership Summit from February 1-3, 2009 in Lausanne, Switzerland. Mary Robinson provided the keynote address to open the three-day summit, urging participants to engage more actively on human rights issues.
January 30th 2009
Youth leaders call for a new era of responsibility at World Economic Forum
Sixty young commmunity activists from more than 30 countries met in Guildford, United Kingdom, for a week of intensive workshops to shape their call to action to world leaders at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2009. The WEF session was chaired by Riz Khan and Mary Robinson also participated in the panel.
January 19th 2009
Welcome to Your New Job, Mr. President
Foreign Policy sought the advice of former heads of state and government around the world in advance of President Obama's inauguration. In telephone interviews over the last few weeks, past presidents and prime ministers on four continents passed along their advice and congratulations for the new President of the United States of America.
January 13th 2009
A Crisis of Dignity in Gaza
As things stand at present, only the extremists are winning. War is destroying the middle east. A new way forward must be found, one which ensures both that Israelis can live in peace and security and that the Palestinian people, who have suffered far too much for far too long, are finally able to live in dignity.
January 9th 2009
Second Meeting of the Sudanese Women's Forum on Darfur
The second meeting of the Sudanese Women???s Forum on Darfur was held from January 6th-8th, 2009 in Darfur, Sudan. The forum was an initiative of Femmes Africa Soldarite (FAS) in partnership with Realizing Rights and the Gender is My Agenda Campaign (GIMAC), supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and Norwegian Government.