27th session of Human Rights Council
- Category: Human Rights
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The 27th session of Human Rights Council was held between 8- 26 September 2014. The newly appointed UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein opened the session with an update on the activities of his office. In his remarks, Mr. Al Hussein recalled his experience of serving with the UN Protection Force in the former Yugoslavia and said “there is no justification ever, for the degrading, the debasing or the exploitation of other human beings – on whatever basis; nationality, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age or caste.’’ He spoke on the Israel-Palestine conflict and on the human rights situation in different regions including Syria, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Sri Lanka. He expressed his office’s concern on the human rights situation of migrants around the world.
Mr. Al Hussein stressed on the need for the international community to bend the course of humanity’s future into a destination of hope and enlightenment. He said that his office will extend all possible assistance, to States in efforts of heightening their protection and promotion of human rights.
During the three week session, the Council convened thematic Panel Discussions, interactive dialogues with Independent Experts, Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups on a range of human rights issues. The thematic reports of the Secretary-General, the High Commissioner and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights were presented which were followed by general debates.
The report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria was presented and Member States, Observer States, NHRI’s and NGO’s expressed their views. The human rights situations in Ukraine, the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Sri Lanka and Iraq in light of abuses committed by the so called ISIL were also discussed.
The 47 member Council approved the outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group reports on the following 14 countries: Norway, Albania, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Portugal, Bhutan, Dominica, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Brunei Darussalam, Costa Rica, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Qatar and Nicaragua.
The delegation of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan commended the Kingdom of Bhutan for the receptive and constructive manner in which it participated in the UPR process. The two recommendations that Afghanistan had made enjoyed the support of Bhutan and the delegation expressed Afghanistan’s appreciation of the fact.
10th Session of Euro-Asia Transport Links (EATL)
- Category: Economic
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The 10th session of the Group of Experts on Euro-Asia Transport Links (EATL) was held on 27-28 May 2014 in Geneva. The Euro-Asian Transport Links (EATL) is a joint undertaking between the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). The EATL works in the framework of the Working Party on Transport Trends and Economics (WP.5), an intergovernmental body that provides a pan-European forum for exchange of ideas concerning sustainable inland transport across the pan-European region. The EATL project has identified main Euro-Asian road and rail routes for priority development and cooperation.
The following Member States participated in the 10th session: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Belgium, Germany, Islamic Republic of Iran, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Mongolia, the Russian Federation, Turkey, and Ukraine. The Trans-European Railway (TER), the Intergovernmental Organization for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF), the International Union of Railways (UIC) and the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA), the Port of Rotterdam Authority and the Lithuanian Railways were also participating in the session.
Mr. Jarullah Mansory, Deputy Minister of Transport, Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation was representing the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at the 10th session.
Views were exchanged on the importance of ports as starting/ending points of EATL rail and road routes between Asia and Europe. In addition, demand for an improved overland links in Central and East Asia was noted during the session. It was also noted that an increasing number of shipping companies were investing in ports hinterland connections through the establishment of rail operators in order to provide door to door services to clients. The experts in the session clarified that the aim of EATL was to create an integrated land transport network that efficiently delivers goods along Euro-Asian corridors.