DPI/NGO Briefing: “Refugees in Current Conflicts: 1 Resolution – Human Rights Protection”

Date: Thursday, 16 June 2011
Time:  10:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Location: Salvation Army Auditorium, 221 East 52nd Street, NY

Background Information
For years, many countries and regions have held their own Refugee Days and even Weeks in an effort to bring the public’s attention to the millions of refugees world wide, who are forced to flee their homes. Prior to 2000, many countries celebrated Africa Refugee Day which was observed on 20 June.

On 4 December 2000, the United Nations General Assembly by adoption of resolution 55/76 decided that from 2001, 20 June would be observed as World Refugee Day.  It was also agreed with the Organization of African Unity that International Refugee Day would in the future coincide with Africa Refugee Day.

2001 also marked the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.

The 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees provides the most comprehensive codification of the rights of refugees at the international level. It is, in fact, recognized as the centerpiece of international refugee protection today.  In addition to providing a definition of the term “refugee”, it clearly outlines the kind of legal protection, social rights and other assistance a refugee should receive from the states that are parties to this Convention.

This week’s Briefing will focus on the situation of refugees and stateless persons in North Africa and the Middle East, particularly in the context of the popular demonstrations and protests that have spread across this region since the end of 2010.  It will look at the relevance of the pertinent legal agreements, including the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, as well as the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness in light of these dramatic events which have resulted in large numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons.

On World Refugee Day, 20 June 2011, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees will launch the “1 Campaign” which is designed to put individual refugees in focus. This campaign encourages individuals to “Do 1 thing”, whether to learn, give, take action or spread the word on the situation of refugees worldwide.  This week’s Briefing aims to support the campaign through its focus on what the “1 Resolution” can mean to the issue of human rights protection for refugees in North Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere.

All Briefings begin promptly at 10:15 a.m. and we ask that our audience be seated by 10:00 a.m. sharp.

Maria-Luisa Chavez: Chief, NGO Relations, Department of Public Information (DPI)

Mr. Udo Janz, Director and Special Adviser to the High Commissioner, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Ms. Anke Strauss, Deputy Permanent Observer/Liaison Officer, International Organization for Migration (IOM) Office of the Permanent Observer to the United Nations

Mr. Sebastian Kohn, Program Coordinator for the Equality and Citizenship Program of the Open Society Justice Initiative

The venue for the weekly Briefings will be provided as soon as the information is available.  United Nations-produced videos relevant to the theme of the Briefing are sometimes screened during the session.  For Briefing information please call the DPI/NGO Resource Centre at +1-212-963-7232 / 7233 / 7234 or e-mail dpingo.briefings@un.org. To receive the Briefing information electronically, please email dpingo.briefings@un.org. You may also visit the DPI/NGO Relations Cluster website at http://www.un.org/dpi/ngosection, where archived web casts and audio (both, when available) of the Briefing may also be accessed

Requests for guest passes should be faxed on organization letterhead to the DPI/NGO Resource Centre at +1 212-963-2819 or e-mailed to dpingo.briefings@un.org AT LEAST TWO DAYS PRIOR to the Briefing. [Please note that pass requests received at any other email address will not be processed.] All guest passes should be picked up at the DPI/NGO Resource Centre, Room GA-37, on the morning of the Briefing.  NGOs are reminded that the Briefing starts promptly at 10:15 a.m.


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