Tag Archives: UN

An update genevois

27 Feb

Dear all,

I recently attended a meeting of the Inter Quaker Criminal Justice Liaison Group (also known as IQCJLG, one of many acronyms I encounter on a daily basis), formed by different Quaker organisations and individuals worldwide who work on Criminal Justice issues.  I found this particularly interesting as whilst Quakers may often have similar objectives, their specific focus may well differ between different contexts and it was interesting and useful to find out what Friends are working on, to share contacts and information. A number of the participants will represent Friends’ interests and concerns under the Friends World Committee for Consultation (QUNO’s parent body) in the UN Crime Commission in Vienna this April. As the meeting was in Friends House in London I was also able to take the opportunity to meet up with fellow Peaceworkers Owen and Rhiannon, who I had not seen since the blissful days at Woodbrooke Study Centre back in August.

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The winter in Geneva has not been as bitterly cold as we were lead to believe, I think last year’s lows of minus 12 degrees were exceptional. The emergence of crocuses and daffodils in the Quaker House garden herald the impending arrival of spring, whilst the odd snowflake reminds us not to be too hasty in our anticipation of warmer times. I haven’t yet ventured into the mountains, which many have chastised me for, so we are planning to go ‘snow-shoeing’ this weekend. I’m working my way up to skiing… possibly. Certainly the lifestyle here is generally a very healthy one (my monthly unlimited swimming pass must be heavily subsidised as it costs just £14) despite the endless fondue. On my recent trip to Spain I met a Ecuadorian lady who told me she wanted to leave the country (like the 40,000 people who fled the financial crisis there in the first six months of last year) and head for Switzerland, hoping that she can tap into some of the wealth and opportunities that reside here. Geneva’s 40% expat population certainly make it an interesting place to socialise, I found myself running between two parties last weekend and speaking four different languages at both – definitely an advantage of living here!

The next session of the UN Human Rights Council has just begun, when the vast corridors of the UN become alive with activity, exhibitions, events, networking opportunities, political negotiations and new resolutions. We are holding a side event on the issue of children of prisoners, to disseminate the results of the EU-funded COPING project that QUNO was involved in for the last three years.

A plus,

Haifa

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