In January 2019, New Zealand’s compliance with international human rights treaties and norms will once again come under scrutiny at the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR). Ahead of this five-yearly review by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva, in October the New Zealand Human Rights Commission facilitated the first-ever in-country pre-sessions held in three locations around NZ.
Some reflection on the training weekend, one week out from the trip to the OECD Forum in Paris. Inside jokes, insightful conversations, and amazing guest speakers set the tone for what is sure to be an amazing journey..
The level of chaos in the hallways at the UN falls somewhere between a high-school corridor during the rush between classes, and the zoo stand at the Dunedin Forsyth Barr stadium. To start with, every time I went to a civil society session, I felt like we were playing a very heated, very loud, very political, and very exhausting game of sardines.
I write this from my inner city Parisian hostel, nose still stinging from tear gas, sirens drowning out the background traffic noise.
This morning, I set out to observe and document the civil society demonstrations that were planned to take place despite the French Government's ban on protests of "two or more people with a political message".
At Conference of Youth 9 [COY9]/ Powershift Central and Eastern Europe, the first breakout session involved discussing our expectations and our feelings related to COP19. I expect to see injustice and lots of it in regards to necessary climate change mitigation. Is it just to have this expectation?
This expectation disappoints and saddens me. It does not help knowing that so many others feel this way, although it is a source of collective inspiration. I would definitely consider this a realistic rather than pessimistic expectation. I am not as idealistic as I was once was but surely I have the right to more hope when attending a conference on progressive global change.
I could write lots on why I feel this way and why it is justified such as that COP19 is really only preparation for COP21 in Paris. Rather than detailing the lack of progress at COP [and other similar conferences] I ask that you think about what your expectations would be for attending such a conference and how civil society should be able to have an impact on proceedings?
In an ideal world, hope will be restored to these international conferences, and they will be considered spaces where progressive change can and does happen.
All posts by Institute delegates reflect their own thoughts, opinions and experiences, and do not reflect those of the Institute.
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