Code of Conduct regarding Security Council action against genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes

Launch of the Code of Conduct regarding Security Council Action against Genocide, Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes
Video: 1:11
23 Oct 2015 – Making the Security Council fit for the next 70 years.
Organized by the PM of Liechtenstein to the UN. 104 states have signed the Code of Conduct.
H.E. Dr. Aurelia Frick, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Liechtenstein
H.E. Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the General Assembly
Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Mr. Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International

Code of Conduct regarding Security Council action against genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes
October 23, 2015 in Statements
Address by Mr Mogens Lykketoft, , President of the 70th session of the General Assembly, at Launch of Code of Conduct regarding Security Council action against genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes

23 October
Her Excellency Ms Aurelia Frick, High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, distinguished ministers, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to address this meeting today, taking place as it does as our Organization celebrates the 70th anniversary of the entry into force of the UN Charter. A Charter which captures so simply and effectively the ideals of peace, human rights, justice, and social progress that we continue to strive for.

The United Nations was founded “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”. Nevertheless, we have seen that on several occasions, we collectively have failed to prevent or act in the face of mass atrocities. And the UN Security Council – holding the primary responsibility for international peace and security – in particular has failed in this regard.

It is my pleasure therefore to be present today as the Code of Conduct regarding Security Council action against genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes is launched here at the UN. An initiative which seeks to ensure that past atrocities are not repeated on our watch; an initiative targeted at making the Security Council fit for the next 70 years.

This initiative has caught my attention especially because of its unique appeal to all UN Member States emphasizing our shared responsibility to prevent mass atrocities. Indeed, all states have a role to play in improving the Security Council’s response to atrocity crimes and share ownership of this important issue.

I believe this voluntary political commitment, which contains a pledge to support timely and decisive Security Council action in situations involving atrocity crimes, as well as a pledge not to vote against credible draft Security Council resolutions aimed at preventing or ending these crimes – is an important step in gathering political momentum and commitment to the idea of voluntary restraint of the use of the veto in situations involving mass atrocity crimes.

I would like to congratulate the members of the cross-regional Accountability, Coherence and Transparency group and in particular Liechtenstein for spearheading this initiative. I am also pleased to see that 92 Member States so far have given their commitment to the Code of Conduct and I am sure that many more will follow suit in the months ahead.

Ladies and gentlemen, you have provided us with an excellent example of how member states can work together to improve the overall functioning and effectiveness of the UN’s systems and organs. In this anniversary year, I encourage you all to continue to work together, to find common cause and to bridge differences so that we can move ever closer to the vision at the heart of the UN Charter.


Explanatory Note on a Code of Conduct regarding Security Council action against genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes
1 September 2015
UN Member States are increasingly expressing support for the idea that permanent members of the Security Council should voluntarily agree to refrain from using their veto in situations involving mass atrocity crimes. This initiative is actively being pursued by France, which is seeking the support of other permanent members.

Members of the ACT (Accountability, Coherence, Transparency) Group have consistently advocated for such a Code of Conduct to be concluded. With a view to supporting this effort, and bearing in mind that the 70th anniversary of the United Nations would provide an ideal platform for the launch of such a Code of Conduct, the ACT Group herewith submits the final text of the Code of Conduct, as set out in the annex. The Code of Conduct has been elaborated informally by the ACT subgroup on the veto and has been further adjusted following extensive informal consultations with Member States and other interested stakeholder.

[ACT reports that as of 23 October 2015, 104 states have signed the Code]
It is currently supported by 25 Members of ACT (Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Gabon, Ghana, Hungary, Ireland, Jordan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Maldives, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Portugal, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and Uruguay) as well as Belize, the Netherlands, Spain and Ukraine.

Member States are herewith invited to formally support it, i.e. to agree to be included in the list of States that expressed their commitment to the Code of Conduct.

The main features of the draft Code of Conduct are the following:
:: The crimes in question are referred to as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes – all well defined in international law.

:: The Code is not only for permanent members of the Security Council, but for any member of the Council, as well as for any other State that may, at some point, become a member of the Council. Security Council action in response to these crimes requires the support of all Council members, not just permanent members. This Code of Conduct is thus not just about the veto, but represents a broader pledge to support timely and decisive Security Council action in such situations.

:: The Code contains a general and positive pledge to support Security Council action against certain crimes (OP1) – both to prevent or end these crimes.

:: The general pledge in OP1 is complemented by a more specific pledge not to vote against credible draft SC resolutions that are aimed at preventing or ending genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes (OP2) – no distinction is made here between permanent and non-permanent members.

:: There is no procedural trigger for the code to apply. Instead, the Code would be triggered by any situation involving these crimes – in other words, the facts on the ground would be the trigger and lead to Security Council action.

:: The application of the Code of Conduct is subject to the assessment of a particular situation by a State that has expressed its commitment to the Code of Conduct. However, the Secretary-General would serve as an important authority to bring such situations to the attention of the Council, and her or his assessment of the situation would carry great weight.

World’s MPs commit to action on digital freedom and fairer migration – Inter Parliamentary Union

World’s MPs commit to action on digital freedom and fairer migration
Inter Parliamentary Union
Geneva, 21 October 2015
Parliamentarians from 137 countries have committed to action aimed at tackling two of the most challenging issues facing the world today – migration and the protection of digital freedoms – as they concluded a global parliamentary conference in Geneva.

Adopting a resolution on democracy in the digital era at the 133rd Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the MPs have set new standards on protecting democracy and digital freedoms in an age of mass surveillance.

The resolution urges parliaments to review national laws to prohibit the interception, collection, analysis and storage of personal data without informed consent of concerned individuals or valid court order.

It underscores the need for privacy protection to be consistent across domestic and international borders, and calls on parliaments to ensure national law cannot be bypassed by data-sharing agreements with foreign States or multinationals.

The 25 point resolution emphasizes the importance of striking a balance between national security and individual freedoms in ensuring that measures taken in the name of national security and counter-terrorism don’t undermine democracy or threaten human rights.

Parliaments are urged to make sure that attempts to curb democratic voices online, including those of journalists and human rights defenders through imprisonment, censorship, hacking or other repressive means are strictly forbidden in national legislation.
Coherent and comprehensive laws to protect whistleblowers in line with international standards are also strongly recommended.

The IPU Assembly, which focused on identifying parliamentary action for a fairer, smarter and more humane migration against a backdrop of a global migration and refugee crisis, outlined a set of measures that MPs could take to protect migrants and maximize the full potential of the world’s oldest human phenomenon.

In a statement adopted at the conclusion of the Assembly, the MPs committed to working towards the ratification of various international conventions that protect migrants’ and refugee rights.

Addressing global and national legislative gaps or grey areas, including the responsibility for searching and rescuing people found in distress at sea or laws on the responsibility for people fleeing environmental disasters was encouraged.
The revision of national laws to ensure access to basic services for all migrants and refugees irrespective of their status, the regulation of the informal sector, particularly the recruitment of low-skilled migrant workers, and the promotion of safe, regular channels for migration, are amongst a wide-ranging set of actions identified by the MPs.
To tackle the growing xenophobia around the world, the MPs acknowledged their responsibility to lead by example in combating stereotypes against migrants, promoting anti-discrimination legislation and in communicating rationally and factually on migration.

“Migration is ultimately an opportunity to positively transform lives, society and economies. We have seen that throughout history. But it has never been easy or without price for the migrant, or the countries of origin and destination,” said IPU President Saber Chowdhury. “This is the most complex challenge of our time. We as parliamentarians must get it right. The potential for positive change that success would bring is incalculable.”…

:: Democracy in the digital era and the threat to privacy and individual freedoms
[Excerpted clauses]
4. Calls on parliaments to review their national frameworks and State practices with a view to promoting and increasing public participation and involvement in the digital era, free exchange of information, knowledge and ideas and equal access to the Internet and, with a view to enhancing democracy in the 21st century, encourages parliaments to remove all legal limitations on freedom of expression and the flow of information and to uphold the principle of Net neutrality;

5. Urges parliaments to carefully review national laws and the practices of government agencies and/or surveillance organizations acting on their behalf so as to make sure that they comply with international law and human rights, especially as they relate to the right to privacy, and calls on parliaments to guarantee, as part of that review, that private and public companies will not be forced to cooperate with the authorities on practices that impair their customers’ human rights, with the exceptions provided for in international human rights law;

6. Calls on parliaments to ensure that national legal frameworks comply fully with international human rights law when applied to interception, analysis, collection, storage and commercial use of data and to share reviews and information from individual States and the IPU on related cases;

7. Urges parliaments to review their legislation in order to prohibit the interception, collection, analysis and storage of personal data, including when those actions are of an extraterritorial or bulk nature, without the informed consent of the individuals concerned or a valid order granted by an independent court on grounds of reasonable suspicion of the targets’ involvement in criminal activity;

8. Underscores that privacy protections must be consistent across domestic and international borders and calls on parliaments to make sure that privacy protections in national law cannot be bypassed by reliance on secretive and informal data-sharing agreements with foreign States or multinationals;

9. Calls on parliaments to enact comprehensive legislation on data protection, for both the public and private sectors, providing, at the minimum, for strict conditions regarding permission to intercept, collect, analyse and store data, for clear and precise limitations on the use of intercepted and collected data, and for security measures that ensure the safest possible preservation, anonymity and proper and permanent destruction of data; and recommends the establishment of independent and effective national data-protection bodies with the necessary power to review practices and address complaints, while further urging parliaments to ensure that their national legal frameworks on data protection are in full compliance with international law and human rights standards, making sure that the same rights apply to both offline and online activities;

10. Also calls on parliaments to ensure through legal means that all collaboration on various surveillance programmes between governments and companies, entities and all other organizations is subject to parliamentary oversight, insofar as it does not hamper the conduct of criminal investigations;

11. Further calls on national parliaments and governments to encourage the private technology sector to honour its obligations to respect human rights, bearing in mind the Guiding Principles on Human Rights and Business, as customers of these companies must be fully informed of how their data is being gathered, stored, used and shared with others, and further calls on parliaments to promote both global norms on user agreements and more development of user-friendly data-protection techniques which counter all threats to Internet security;

12. Urges parliaments to reject the interception of telecommunications and espionage activities by any State or non-state actor involved in any action, which negatively affects international peace and security, as well as civil and political rights, especially those enshrined in Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states that “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence” and that “everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks”;

13. Recognizes the need for parliaments to specify, in relative detail, the circumstances under which any interference with the right to privacy may be permitted, to establish strict judicial procedures for the authorization of communications surveillance and to monitor the implementation of those procedures, limits on the duration of surveillance, security and storage of the data collected, and safeguards against abuse;…

Leaders Unite in Calling for a Price on Carbon Ahead of Paris Climate Talks – World Bank IMF

Leaders Unite in Calling for a Price on Carbon Ahead of Paris Climate Talks
WASHINGTON, Oct 19, 2015 – For the first time, an unprecedented alliance of Heads of State, city and state leaders, with the support of heads of leading companies, have joined forces to urge countries and companies around the globe to put a price on carbon.

The call to price carbon comes from the Carbon Pricing Panel – a group convened by World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde – to spur further, faster action ahead of the Paris climate talks. They are joined in this effort by OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria.

The panel includes German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, French President François Hollande, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Philippines President Benigno Aquino III, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, Governor Jerry Brown of California, and Mayor Eduardo Paes of Rio de Janeiro.

These global leaders are calling on their peers to join them in pricing carbon to steer the global economy towards a low carbon, productive, competitive future without the dangerous levels of carbon pollution driving warming. Through strong public policy they are providing certainty and predictability to the private sector so they can make long-term investments in climate smart development.

Private sector support comes from US Institutional Investor CalPERS, ENGIE of France, Mahindra Group of India, and Netherlands-based Royal DSM, who will help link business needs with public policies through the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, an action based platform that will be officially launched in Paris on November 30, 2015.

“There has never been a global movement to put a price on carbon at this level and with this degree of unison. It marks a turning point from the debate on the economic systems needed for low carbon growth to the implementation of policies and pricing mechanisms to deliver jobs, clean growth and prosperity,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. “The science is clear, the economics compelling and we now see political leadership emerging to take green investment to scale at a speed commensurate with the climate challenge.”

“Finance ministers need to think about reforms to fiscal systems in order to raise more revenue from taxes on carbon-intensive fuels and less revenue from other taxes that are detrimental to economic performance, such as taxes on labor and capital. They need to evaluate the carbon tax rates that will help them meet their mitigation pledges for Paris and accompanying measures to help low-income households vulnerable to higher energy prices,” said Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund…

Women, Business and the Law 2016: Getting to Equal – World Bank

Women, Business and the Law 2016: Getting to Equal
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank
October 2105 :: 272 pages
Getting to Equal measures legal and regulatory barriers to women’s entrepreneurship and employment in 173 economies. It provides quantitative measures of laws and regulations that affect women’s economic opportunities in seven areas: accessing institutions, using property, getting a job, providing incentives to work, going to court, building credit and protecting women from violence.

Highlights from Women, Business and the Law 2016
:: Legal gender differences are widespread: 155 of the 173 economies covered have at least one law impeding women’s economic opportunities.

:: The total number of legal gender differences across 173 economies is 943.

:: In 100 economies, women face gender-based job restrictions.

:: 46 of the economies covered have no laws specifically protecting women from domestic violence.

:: In 18 economies, husbands can legally prevent their wives from working.

:: Lower legal gender equality is associated with fewer girls attending secondary school relative to boys, fewer women working or running businesses and a wider gender wage gap.

:: Over the past two years, 65 economies carried out 94 reforms increasing women’s economic opportunities.

New prize competition seeks innovative ideas to advance open science

New prize competition seeks innovative ideas to advance open science
20 October 2015
The Open Science Prize invites applicants to develop new products or services that harness the power of “big data” to improve health.
The Wellcome Trust has partnered with the National Institutes of Health and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to launch a global science competition for new products or services to advance “open science”, a movement to make scientific research data broadly accessible to the public.

Up to six teams of technology experts and researchers stand to win $80,000 each to develop their ideas into a prototype or to advance an existing early stage prototype. The prototype judged to have the greatest potential to further open science will receive $230,000.

“As an early advocate of open access and data sharing, the Wellcome Trust believes passionately in the power of freely available, reusable research outputs,” said Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust. “With the Open Science Prize, we hope to tap into the innovative spirit of the global open science community to use open data to deliver global health benefits.”

NIH Director Francis S. Collins said: “Research is a global, data-driven enterprise and our ability to improve health increasingly hinges on our ability to manage and make sense of the enormous amounts of data being produced by scientific research. I expect the Open Science Prize to generate innovative ideas to improve data access and establish new international collaborations that will illustrate the transformative power of sharing research data.”

The volume of digital information generated by biomedical research often called “big data” is growing at a rapidly increasing pace. Researchers’ ability to derive knowledge from data is hindered by their ability to find, access and use it. The goal of the Open Science Prize is to support the development and prototyping of services, tools and platforms to overcome these hurdles to ensure data can be used to advance discovery and spur innovation.

The first phase of the competition is accepting applications until 29 February 2016. Based on the advice of a panel of experts, six teams will be selected to receive the prize money to advance their ideas to prototypes, and will be required to submit their prototypes by 1 December 2016. The overall winner is expected to be selected on 28 February 2017.

More information can be found on the Open Science Prize website, the NIH press release and the Wellcome Trust Blog.

United Nations – Secretary General, Security Council, General Assembly [to 24 October 2015]

United Nations – Secretary General, Security Council, General Assembly  [to 24 October 2015]

Selected Press Releases/Meetings Coverage
23 October 2015
Restrictive State Policies Trigger Greater Risks for Migrants, Special Rapporteur Cautions Third Committee as Human Rights Debate Continues
The overall effect of restrictive State law enforcement policies had put migrants at a greater risk, rendering them more vulnerable to human rights abuses and violations, the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) heard today as six United Nations human rights experts presented reports on issues spanning from the right to food to trafficking.

22 October 2015
Speakers Express Outrage in First Committee at Present-Day Chemical Weapons Use, as Some Stress Need to Avert Acquisition by Non-State Actors
The world was currently witnessing the renewed use of chemical weapons, and there was no reason to think that a moral line would be drawn at the use of biological weapons, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) heard today as it concluded its thematic debate on nuclear weapons and took up its consideration of other weapons of mass destruction.

22 October 2015
Leaders of Israel, Palestine Must Take Public Stand against Extremism, Deputy Secretary-General Tells Security Council
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict had entered a “dangerous” phase amid a fresh wave of violence in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, the Deputy Secretary-General told the Security Council today as he pressed leaders from both sides to publicly take a stand against extremism and incitement, as failure to do so left the door open to promote destructive extremist agendas.

22 October 2015
Israeli-Palestinian Violence Rooted in Absence of ‘Genuine Political Narrative and Political Horizon’, Deputy Secretary-General Tells Security Council
Following is Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson’s briefing to the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East, in New York today.

21 October 2015
Human Rights-Based Approaches ‘Urgently’ Needed to Mitigate Global Crisis of Migration Governance, High Commissioner Tells Third Committee
More effective, human rights-based approaches were urgently needed to address the global crisis of migration governance, the top United Nations human rights official told the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) today, as it continued debating the issue in a series of interactive dialogues.

20 October 2015
Speakers Focus on Veto Power, Appointment of Next Secretary-General, Cooperation among UN and Regional Bodies as Security Council Debates Working Methods
The use of the veto, cooperation with the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, as well as with regional organizations and troop- and police-contributing countries, and procedures to appoint the new Secretary-General were among topics addressed by speakers at today’s Security Council’s open debate on that body’s working methods.

UN OHCHR Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights [to 24 October 2015]

UN OHCHR Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights [to 24 October 2015]
Selected Press Releases/Announcements
Children also have the right to freedom of religion or belief, and that must be protected

“Using force will not stop the global migration crisis” – UN experts call for “smart mobility solutions”

“Silence is too often the only safe option left” – New UN report on sources and whistleblowers

Zeid urges Czech Republic to stop detention of migrants and refugees