The Conferences

Iran, United Kingdom

Iran – the Issues

Our interns, Ardi Janjeva and Angus Edwards, gave a 20 minute presentation to senior diplomatic figures from around the world during our conference on Iran. Using the Thortspace software, they covered the key issues concerning war avoidance in Iran: the nuclear issue, relations with radical groups, geopolitical ties in the Middle East, and domestic issues.

Bahrain, Burma, United Nations

The need to do more for Burma refugees

Megan Welby speaking on behalf of the Next Century Foundation notes the shortcoming of the Human Rights Council to engage effectively with some key states, which are then blamed for not stepping up to the requirements of the HRC. There seems to be a strong element of hubris on all sides. Continuing reluctance on the part of those criticised often competes with a lack of recognition of the progress made by these states by the HRC. As a case in point, we note with equal concern to the High Commissioner the growing crisis cast upon the Rohingyas in Myanmar. In light of the mass exodus since 25th August, we urge the HRC to strongly urge that Bangladesh, India and Myanmar all sign the Refugee Convention, to ensure their compliance to international law and human rights standards on the treatment of refugees. Without the boundaries of this Convention in place, refugees are left exposed to serious protection risks. However, the NCF also notes that the HRC declaims the use of torture in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The real problem in this instance is Bahrain’s failure to deliver a proper response to international requests for access and information. Unknown to many, Bahrain has a Ministry of Interior Ombudsman who is present here in Geneva now. The Next Century Foundation calls upon the Government of Bahrain to reconsider the ratification of OPCAT. However, we further believe that the Government of Bahrain might be encouraged to so do, if the HRC approached its issues of concern with greater understanding on the incremental progress that continues to be made.

Bahrain, United Nations

Opposing Discrimination against Women

As an NGO actively involved in monitoring and promoting human rights, the Next Century Foundation pays particular attention to the relentless worldwide issues of intolerance and discriminations. Among the many unacceptable forms of discrimination, one in particular represents a case of the utmost urgency for the international community: discrimination against women. Discrimination against women in its most varied forms, deeply affects a country, harming its culture, its values, its economy, its political and social identity. It represents an intolerable insult to the entire mankind. In line with the principles expressed by the Durban declaration, the Next Century Foundation strongly urges all the States to implement reforms aimed at incorporating a gender perspective in all programmes of action against racism and intolerance at large. More importantly, we urge States to establish an equal and effective participation of women in decision-making at all levels and grant women equal rights with men. In this regard, States should follow the example of the Kingdom of Bahrain that – with its recent introduction of Bahrain’s Unified Family Law – allows a woman to no longer give up her rights over her children as prerequisite to attaining divorce nor to ask for husband’s approval. The Bahrain’s opening process to women’s rights is exemplary and it clearly demonstrates that a positive change is possible if there is a political will.