70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

December 10th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 10 December 1948

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 10 December 1948

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a historic document that was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly at its third session on 10 December 1948 as Resolution 217 at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, France. Of the then 58 members of the United Nations, 48 voted in favor, none against, eight abstained, and two did not vote.   read more…

The UNESCO

March 2nd, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

© UNESCO.org

© UNESCO.org

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris. Its declared purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter. It is the successor of the League of NationsInternational Committee on Intellectual Cooperation. UNESCO has 195 member states and ten associate members, including Cook Islands and Niue. Most of its field offices are “cluster” offices covering three or more countries; national and regional offices also exist. In October 2017, the United States and Israel have declared that they will leave UNESCO on 31 December 2018. Efforts to keep the United States in the UNESCO promptly started on the diplomatic floor.   read more…

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

January 27th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Map of the Holocaust in Europe © Dennis Nilsson/cc-by-3.0

Map of the Holocaust in Europe © Dennis Nilsson/cc-by-3.0

International Holocaust Remembrance Day, is an international memorial day on 27 January commemorating the victims of the Holocaust. It commemorates the genocide that resulted in the death of an estimated 6 million Jewish people, 200,000 Romani people, 250,000 mentally and physically disabled people, and 9,000 homosexual men by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. It was designated by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 60/7 on 1 November 2005 during the 42nd plenary session. The resolution came after a special session was held earlier that year on 24 January 2005 during which the United Nations General Assembly marked the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps and the end of the Holocaust. On 27 January 1945, Auschwitz-Birkenau (today Oświęcim in Poland), the largest Nazi concentration and death camp, was liberated by the Red Army.   read more…

The International Court of Justice in The Hague

January 1st, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, General, House of the Month

© International Court of Justice

© International Court of Justice

The International Court of Justice (French: Cour internationale de justice; commonly referred to as the World Court, ICJ or The Hague) is the primary judicial branch of the United Nations (UN). Seated in the Peace Palace in The Hague, the court settles legal disputes submitted to it by states and provides advisory opinions on legal questions submitted to it by duly authorized international branches, agencies, and the UN General Assembly. Established in 1945 by the UN Charter, the Court began work in 1946 as the successor to the Permanent Court of International Justice. The Statute of the International Court of Justice, similar to that of its predecessor, is the main constitutional document constituting and regulating the Court.   read more…

The International Criminal Court

November 1st, 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, House of the Month

International Criminal Court building © OSeveno/cc-by-sa-4.0

International Criminal Court building © OSeveno/cc-by-sa-4.0

The International Criminal Court (ICC or ICCt) is an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal that sits in The Hague in the Netherlands. The ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. The ICC is intended to complement existing national judicial systems and it may therefore only exercise its jurisdiction when certain conditions are met, such as when national courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute criminals or when the United Nations Security Council or individual states refer situations to the Court. The ICC began functioning on 1 July 2002, the date that the Rome Statute entered into force. The Rome Statute is a multilateral treaty which serves as the ICC’s foundational and governing document. States which become party to the Rome Statute, for example by ratifying it, become member states of the ICC. Currently, out of 193 UN member countries there are 124 states which are party to the Rome Statute and therefore members of the ICC. Israel, Russia, Sudan and the United States aren’t part of it.   read more…

Theme Week South Africa

June 19th, 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks

East London - City Hall on Oxford Street © Bfluff/cc-by-sa-3.0

East London – City Hall on Oxford Street © Bfluff/cc-by-sa-3.0

South Africa is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded on the south by 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans, on the north by the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, and on the east and northeast by Mozambique and Swaziland, and surrounding the kingdom of Lesotho. South Africa is the 25th-largest country in the world by land area, and with close to 56 million people, is the world’s 24th-most populous nation. It is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Old World or the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different Bantu languages, nine of which have official status. The remaining population consists of Africa’s largest communities of European (white), Asian (Indian), and multiracial (coloured) ancestry. South Africa is a multiethnic society encompassing a wide variety of cultures, languages, and religions. Its pluralistic makeup is reflected in the constitution‘s recognition of 11 official languages, which is among the highest number of any country in the world. Two of these languages are of European origin: Afrikaans developed from Dutch and serves as the first language of most white and coloured South Africans; English reflects the legacy of British colonialism, and is commonly used in public and commercial life, though it is fourth-ranked as a spoken first language. The country is one of the few in Africa never to have had a coup d’état, and regular elections have been held for almost a century. However, the vast majority of black South Africans were not enfranchised until 1994. During the 20th century, the black majority sought to recover its rights from the dominant white minority, with this struggle playing a large role in the country’s recent history and politics. The National Party imposed apartheid in 1948, institutionalising previous racial segregation. After a long and sometimes violent struggle by the African National Congress and other anti-apartheid activists both inside and outside the country, discriminatory laws began to be repealed or abolished from 1990 onwards. South Africa is often referred to as the Rainbow Nation to describe the country’s multicultural diversity, especially in the wake of apartheid.   read more…

Theme Week Egypt

May 22nd, 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks, Union for the Mediterranean

Luxor - Winter Palace Hotel © Rowan

Luxor – Winter Palace Hotel © Rowan

Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia by a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt is a Mediterranean country bordered by Palestine and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba to the east, the Red Sea to the east and south, Sudan to the south, and Libya to the west. Across the Gulf of Aqaba lies Jordan, and across from the Sinai Peninsula lies Saudi Arabia, although Jordan and Saudi Arabia do not share a land border with Egypt. It is the world’s only contiguous Afrasian nation. Egypt has among the longest histories of any modern country, emerging as one of the world’s first nation states in the tenth millennium BC. Considered a cradle of civilisation, Ancient Egypt experienced some of the earliest developments of writing, agriculture, urbanisation, organised religion and central government. Iconic monuments such as the Giza Necropolis and its Great Sphinx, as well the ruins of Memphis, Thebes, Karnak, and the Valley of the Kings, reflect this legacy and remain a significant focus of archaeological study and popular interest worldwide. Egypt’s rich cultural heritage is an integral part of its national identity, which has endured, and at times assimilated, various foreign influences, including Greek, Persian, Roman, Arab, Ottoman, and European. One of the earliest centres of Christianity, Egypt was Islamised in the seventh century and remains a predominantly Muslim country, albeit with a significant Christian minority.   read more…

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