The Law of War

International Committee of the Red Cross LogoInternational humanitarian law (IHL) is a universal code established to protect victims of armed conflicts. At first, the rules were not written, they were a matter of tradition, but over time they were enshrined in international treaties becoming laws of compulsory compliance. Nowadays, the main rules of international humanitarian law are contained in the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Additional Protocols of 1977.

The laws set out in this treaty encompass two fields. On the one hand they protect people outside of the combat (civilians, the wounded and sick and people who are detained). On the other hand they restrict and forbid the usage of some weapons in warfare. The aim of IHL is to narrow the scope of hostilities without taking into account the moral status of the parties. The article is a complaint against the lack of importance given to these rules and its continuous violations which aren´t condemned.

After the Second World War most countries committed to obey IHL when they signed the Geneva Convention, but if we analyse some of the latest international news we can see that these rules are constantly violated. There is no guarantee that they will be enforced and the consequences of infringing the laws have not yet been resolved. Here are just a few examples of the ceaseless violations of IHL, which have occurred this year and have not yet been punished.

The rules of customary IHL say that victims of armed conflicts must be given medical care and that deliberate attacks against medical facilities, staff or transports are a violation of IHL (rule110). However, it is not difficult to find evidence of violations to this law. Last July, Al-Shifa medical compound and refugee camp in Palestine were struck by a missile and rockets, several civilians were injured and killed, and the hospital came under fire several times.

Without a doubt this a serious violation of IHL as the line had not been drawn between legitimate military objectives, which are the only legal targets to attack, and civilian ones. Another rule (rule 90) says that torture and inhuman treatment is prohibited, but since the breakout of the Ukrainian-Russian conflict, armed groups from both sides have been accused of carrying out tortures, arbitrary detentions and abductions.

Although this issue has been addressed several times in the UN General Assembly, accountability processes have not started up yet. Rule 104 makes reference to the principle of distinction in saying that the religious practices of civilians and people who do not take part in the hostilities must be respected. Every person shall be treated regardless of his or her religion, sex, race, wealth, etc.




However, in many parts of the world this law have not been respected. Some countries such as Iraq and Syria are involved in religious and racial conflicts in which human rights principles have been constantly violated. In some regions of Iraq, such as Baghdad, religious centres have been destroyed, and in Syria people are persecuted for their religious beliefs.

After all these examples it is clear that the international community is not taking IHL seriously. On the one hand governments are not making any effort to preserve a certain degree of humanity in times of war, and on the other hand institutions have not yet settled clear accountability measures to punish such violations. Although the main international law-enforcing bodies of the United Nations as well as peacekeeping forces have voiced their concern over IHL violations, there is no evidence that makes us think that international law infractions will cease, as there are no serious accountability measures.

This issue is of extreme importance as it concerns the lives of millions of people who are suffering from hostilities, which have nothing to do with them. It is important to instruct soldiers and spread the principles of IHL in order to provide protection to the victims of armed conflicts and to make sure that the violations are being detected and tried in court. Otherwise, these rules would be worthless and dignity of life wouldn´t be protected.


IHL Rules
Syria violations of humanitarian law (video)
• BAYLIS, John; SMITH, Steve, OWENS, Patricia: The Globalization of World Politics: “An Introduction to International Relations”. Editorial Oxford, 2010.
ICRC statement to the United Nations
Inside a Gaza hospital during Israeli ground offensive. BBC News (video)

Corporate Social Responsibility Should be Compulsory in Bangladesh



So far we know Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a part of good corporate governance system. As the corporations run in society, they must have some responsibilities towards it. In Bangladesh, it is optional for corporations and that’s why they may find a scope to avoid CSR for making more profits.


According to the DSE (Dhaka Stock Exchange), there are 22 different sectors totaling 535 companies that are listed in DSE. In fact, there are no specific guidelines for CSR for them. On 13th May, 2014, the governor of Bangladesh Bank (BB) said on the launching ceremony of “Report on CSR in Bangladesh 2014” organized by CSR center, “It is global survival urgency in the face of looming risks from social inequity, environmental degradation and climate change threats arising mostly from the global economic output practices.” He also added that BB will issue a specific CSR guideline for financial and non-bank financial institutions. After the collapse of Rana Plaza and fire accident in Tazreen Garment, Bangladesh government took some initiates for upgrading the working environment for the workers, though no specific CSR guidelines are set up.



If I represent the CSR in Bangladesh based on 22 different categories, it may not be possible to represent the condition properly as hardly 4 or 5 categories of corporation do the CSR activates. Considering all corporations’ CSR activities in 4 categories like as Business, Environment, Social and Economic CSR. Now take a brief look about the CSR that are done by various corporations:

  • Business CSR: GrameenPhone Limited, one of the leading mobile phone operators in Bangladesh, sent 40 employees to the different rural areas of Bangladesh in 2012 to train up the people about business including IT, marketing, product distribution and pricing. It ensures the communication between the community and GrameenPhone and also the development of the employees. In case of IDLC Finance Limited, it has already reduced the employee turnover by 3% in 2 years and Carbon-Di-Oxide (CO2) by 16 tons each year. One of the leading tea manufacturing corporations named Ispahani, has trained its employees in tea states which includes how to increase production. It has also provided pure drinking water and sanitation facilities in tea states which play an important role to develop the living standards.
  • Environment CSR: To protect the environment, Standard Chartered Bangladesh (SCB) and in association with British Council, have completed 3 road shows in 64 districts of Bangladesh named “3000 Miles to Go” which have included a day long program with schools incorporating educational documentary and postcard competition on which the top 100 postcards will be exhibited globally in Standard Chartered Bank’s offices. Recently SCB has introduced the climate award and CSR award in Bangladesh. Viyellatex Group, one of the textiles, agro, logistics and power generating corporations, has saved over 100 million of ground water each year by harvesting rain water. It also saves energy and reduces carbon emissions by reusing exhaust from a gas generator for cooling process.
  • Social CSR: With a view to serving the society, City Bank Limited, in partnership with Management and Resources Development Initiatives, has trained up the village women to earn new skills and income which provide them to find an alternative livelihood and increase the living standards. “Seeing is Believing”, a global initiative by Standard Chartered Bank, has prevented blindness among 28 million people worldwide and in case of Bangladesh, in partnership with local NGO’s to train up healthcare workers, provide Vitamin A capsule to children and increase access to medical services to the poor. Since 2003, SCB has performed 24300 cataract surgeries and has provided eyeglasses to 75000 people in Bangladesh. Qubee, one of the WiMax operators in Bangladesh, is currently working with Jaago Foundation to provide computers and high speed internet at schools for slum children in Dhaka.
  • Economic CSR: To boost up the economy, Rahimafrooz (Bangladesh) Limited, one of the power supplying companies in Bangladesh, has established a trust named Rural Services Foundation to implement Solar Home Systems in rural communities. This project has created 3103 direct employments and 10000 indirect employments. Brac Bank Limited has helped 320000 people in 2012 through SME loan with the lowest interest rates. 51% of the lending must be in SME sector which states in its charter. This bank also introduced Green Banking by not to finance sectors that hampers the environment. Another bank named Mutual Trust Bank Limited also helped approximately 60 handicapped people by trained up about poultry farming, cattle rearing and shop keeping.

Another thing I cannot ignore which is about the CSR in textile sector. After the collapse of Rana Plaza and fire accident in Tazreen Garment, a recent study by the Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) found that the stakeholders of this industry took 102 initiatives of varying dimensions against 54 out of 63 types of governance challenges. According to TIB, 31% of the initiatives are being completely implemented while 61% are being in progress and rest 9% are being unaddressed. It is important to mention that a new salary structure for the workers was implemented from December 2013, though the workers have raised many problems regarding their salaries.

Photo: Fire on Tazreen Garment, Source:

Photo: Fire on Tazreen Garment, Source:

CSR is Bangladesh is closely related to the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals). In my opinion, some steps should be taken by the government as well as the corporations.

Here they are:

  • A specific CSR guideline need to be issued by government in cooperation with corporations
  • A monitoring body should be established to monitor whether the CSR would be done in accordance with guideline
  • Failure to perform CSR should be penalized if the corporation is capable of performing CSR
  • To motivate, government need to give award to the top performers
  • Corporations need to be positive about CSR

Bangladesh has enough opportunities in business sector. The day is not so far when the world see, Bangladesh will achieve MGDs through CSR!


Boosting Bario’s Ecotourism: International Day of Rural Women

International Day of Rural Women

A Space in Time
Planting paddy in the field while teaching an elderly Kelabit woman English, picking wild vegetables in the jungle for lunch, sharing stories while beading necklaces for the entire afternoon; these are some common activities done by a youth volunteer in Bario under Project WHEE!

Secluded from the rest of the world by a range of mountains, Bario is a remote settlement located on the east of Sarawak in Borneo, bordering Kalimantan, Indonesia. Its thirteen villages are primarily resided by Kelabits, one of the smallest tribes in Malaysia. The Kelabits were heavily involved in headhunting practices over a century ago. However, they are now well-known for their friendliness and unique culture, allowing Bario to be affectionately known as the ‘Land of a Hundred Handshakes’.

Agriculture plays a big part in Bario’s economy. Vast plots of paddy fields here produce Bario rice, cultivated using traditional methods and grown without chemicals. Bario is also known to produce high-potash salt and tasty pineapples.

"E e ada banyak kerja, jaga keluarga, anyam bakul untuk orang, pergi kelas malam, tapi e e masihmahu belajar English. E e duit tak banyak tapi rumah jahat tak apa, asalkan hati baik."(I have a lot of work. I have to take care of my family, weave baskets for others, go to night class, but I still want to learn English. I don't have much, but it doesn't matter if you have a 'bad' house, as long as your heart is good.)" - Catherine Erip TungangIf I had to describe this woman in a few words, they would be: determined, inspiring, loving andhardworking. This amazing woman is a great inspiration and the largest lesson I have learnt from her is that happiness is about contentment, not materialistic possessions; that you define your own happiness. What you have, or don't have, is irrelevant as long as you have a good heart and good intentions, and this is one lesson that I will pass on to my children in the future. - Rachel Khoo

“E e ada banyak kerja, jaga keluarga, anyam bakul untuk orang, pergi kelas malam, tapi e e masih
mahu belajar English. E e duit tak banyak tapi rumah jahat tak apa, asalkan hati baik.”
(I have a lot of work. I have to take care of my family, weave baskets for others, go to night class, but I still want to learn English. I don’t have much, but it doesn’t matter if you have a ‘bad’ house, as long as your heart is good.)” – Catherine Erip Tungang
If I had to describe this woman in a few words, they would be: determined, inspiring, loving and
hardworking. This amazing woman is a great inspiration and the largest lesson I have learnt from her is that happiness is about contentment, not materialistic possessions; that you define your own happiness. What you have, or don’t have, is irrelevant as long as you have a good heart and good intentions, and this is one lesson that I will pass on to my children in the future. – Rachel Khoo

Development in Bario is slow due to its geographical barriers. Access to Internet is limited and electricity is only supplied for a few hours in the evening by a mini hydro dam for one of the villages. The only airport that connects to Bario is Miri, a city which is 55 minutes’ plane ride away. There are at most only three flights to Bario each day. Contacting someone in Bario can be done through phone calls to several villages but the connection is unreliable. Medical personnel and facilities are limited; there is a hospital that only treats common maladies and anyone severely ill will have to fly out of Bario to the hospital in Miri.

Many Kelabits have migrated to cities for better education and job opportunities, leaving behind the elderly and the young children. As a result, some elderly women continue to farm despite their old age. Their physical limitations also prevent them from conducting ‘gotong-royong’ (a tradition of helping each other and the community) to set-up basic logistics at the community level to receive eco-tourists.

People-to-People Exchanges

In order to revive the community, various initiatives have been taken to develop Bario to create more job opportunities and lure back the diaspora. One of them is to boost the ecotourism industry here by extending homestay and tour guiding activities which are now concentrated in a few central villages to the outlaying villages.

Between 2010-2013, eHomemakers, a Malaysian non-profit social enterprise, initiated two training projects for women in three villages, Bario Asal, Ulong Palang and Arur Dalan – ecotourism and computer-based office work, thanks to a seed fund from PEMANDU (a unit under the Prime Mininster’s Department in Malaysia) for 15 months to upskill the women in ecotourism and produce higher value agricultural products.

Standing over a huge bucket of paddy seeds, Tepuq Sina Rang put her hands out and  gestured for me to hold them. I held them, not really sure what was going on and then, she said a  prayer. A prayer for a good harvest. - Kan Wai Min

Standing over a huge bucket of paddy seeds, Tepuq Sina Rang put her hands out and gestured for me to hold them. I held them, not really sure what was going on and then, she said a prayer. A prayer for a good harvest. – Kan Wai Min

In 2014, with a seed fund from Dana Belia 1Malaysia, it mobilised voluntary resources and corporate barter exchanges to initiate Project WHEE! (PW!), a youth project to continue the rural community development in Bario. Youth volunteers from all over Malaysia are sent to Bario for two weeks to help the Kelabit women with their command of spoken English, so to become better homestay hosts and community guides. Each volunteer is be assigned to a lady and shadows her for the entire duration of the project. While helping her in her daily work, he/she will also improve the women’s English through conversations. From time to time, community services are conducted according to the needs of the community.

Bario’s solitude is a double-edged sword to its inhabitants. It impedes development but at the same time, preserves the simplicity of their lifestyle. They find joy in routine activities as they appreciate every moment and live life full of sincerity. They may not be the wealthiest monetarily but they are definitely rich with wisdom and in many other ways. The volunteers, fondly known as WHEE-ans return from Bario changed with different perceptions on life.

To recognize and honour the contributions of the women in Bario ‘to the family and the community, especially in cases where they are left behind by migrating adults or as a result of other socio-economic factors,’ a Facebook campaign was kick started on Oct 1 2014 in conjunction with International Day of Rural Women which falls on October 15.

While talking to Tepuq Ulo about her younger days and the hardships she faced. "Saya kecil dulu, tak ada baju cantik cantik untuk pakai. Makan pun biasa saja. Tak ada la makan  besar besar. Tapi sekarang, sudah selesa la. Ada baju ada makan. Kalau selalu kerja keras, ada hati  yang baik, sentiasa ingat Tuhan; sudah cukup la selesa." "While I was younger, I did not have pretty clothes or lavish access to meals. But now, I am  comfortable. I have clothes to wear and food on my table. If we always work hard, have a good heart  and remember God; you will have enough comfort. " - Tharunnia Ganesan

While talking to Tepuq Ulo about her younger days and the hardships she faced. “Saya kecil dulu, tak ada baju cantik cantik untuk pakai. Makan pun biasa saja. Tak ada la makan besar besar. Tapi sekarang, sudah selesa la. Ada baju ada makan. Kalau selalu kerja keras, ada hati yang baik, sentiasa ingat Tuhan; sudah cukup la selesa.” “When I was younger, I did not have pretty clothes or lavish access to meals. But now, I am comfortable. I have clothes to wear and food on my table. If we always work hard, have a good heart and remember God; you will have enough comfort. ” – Tharunnia Ganesan

This new international day was established by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its resolution 62/136. It was first observed in 2008, to recognize ‘the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty’,

The campaign features stories of the women, written by the volunteers themselves. They range from each woman’s contribution in agriculture or to the community, to how she has inspired the youth volunteer. Beginning 1 October 2014 to the actual day of observation, a photo of one of these women captioned with her story is posted on PW!’s Facebook page daily.

Redefining Success

Project WHEE! has shown the youth organizing teams and the youth participants that the definition of success needs to be redefined. Many are occupied with chasing success and happiness, are these materialistic pursuits worth it? Does ‘success’ mean being financially able and to have authority over people? Perhaps, it is good to take a step back from this mad chase and return to the basics – a rudiment lifestyle and we will probably find our answer through rural people throughout the world, especially the resilient, strong determined women in Bario, Sarawak, Malaysia.

PW! Administrator

Making a better world with a better education

The Model International Delegate team with President Tjalke Weber at the UNYANET General Assembly 2014

The Model International Delegate team with President Tjalke Weber at the UNYANET General Assembly 2014

Education has two faces: learning and teaching.

People learn from each other as they teach each other. This means that from the moment you have learned and understood something, you can teach it.

The principle falls in line with the words of the American author and humourist, Mark Twain:

“It is noble to teach oneself, but still nobler to teach others!”

This quote is one of Model International Delegate’s philosophies to share something meaningful with people, so that they can pass it to others in return.

We, at MID, see education as a game, an important one; where there are winners and losers.

Why do people fail where others succeed?

Resources often make the difference. Specific knowledge is something you purchase and this fact brings a new element into the game: wealth.

Individuals can be rich either with their money, or with their knowledge; therefore creating a circle. People with money can afford higher education and people with knowledge can generate higher income. MID is there to hide the money matters in order to give everybody a chance of becoming something more.

Model United Nations around the world are very good schools. They often are student-led conferences for large scale youth participation and established at arelatively low cost. MUNs give every attendee the opportunity to improve his or her research and writing ability, analytical thinking, and communications skills.

Albert Einstein once said:

“The only source of knowledge is experience.”

Model United Nations is all about reversing the faces of education, giving young minds, notwithstanding their socio-economical background, the opportunity to learn from each other, teach each other, and therefore, impact their own destiny.

MUNs are one of Model International Delegate’s main focuses. Though they are excellent tools to educate people, some challenges prevail.

MUNs around the world have no common grounds. It’s a little bit like: “Do whatever you want”. This is a problem for the quality of MUNs and for the UN members that are concerned about how MUNs take place.

That is why we collaborate with organizations such as UNYANET and UNDPI in order to establish internationally recognized standards.

This way, MUNs will have a better visibility towards the United Nations and other institutions. Improved RoPs will increase conference quality and participation. And so on, our educational target will be reached.

Of course, working on these standards is not our exclusive activity. Model International Delegate is involved in several other activities with little or no relation towards MUNs. At the end, it’s all about inclusive and participative education.

We believe simulations and role-plays are the best tools for sharing knowledge and empowering one other. So, you can consider MID like a knot between the strings in the MUN world. In collaboration with the concerned UN departments, UNYANET, and with MUN delegations all around the world we want to build, together, a stronger,
safer and better future for everybody.

To conclude, the most important thing to remember about MID is the word “everybody”. MID is a tool for everybody, made by everybody. You are part of it from the moment you embrace it:

“Making a better world with a better education”

Consultant at Model International Delegate

Why Gender Equality Is Everyone’s Issue

The United Nations is not a finished product. And perhaps it never will be. UN Women as the youngest entity of the United Nations is a good example for the continuing renewal of the UN. It was ‘born’ in 2010, bringing together resources and mandates of four previously distinct parts of the UN system. By creating this institution, the UN General Assembly established one entity to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women. Considering that not one single country on this planet has yet achieved gender equality, the task of UN Women is tremendous. Worldwide, women suffer violence and discrimination, face occupational segregation and gender wage gaps and are under-represented in political and economic decision-making processes. In fact, gender inequality is one of the most persistent human rights violations of our time.

UN Women takes on this challenge and is a strong champion for women and girls, basing its work on landmark agreements such as the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

Most recently, UN Women has launched its HeForShe campaign with the prominent support of the English actress Emma Watson. In the heart of the campaign lies the idea that gender equality is not only a women’s issue, it is a human rights issue that affects all of us – women and girls, men and boys. We all benefit socially, politically and economically from gender equality in our everyday lives. When women are empowered, the whole of humanity benefits. Gender equality liberates not only women but also men, from prescribed social roles and gender stereotypes. As Emma Watson put it in her speech that went viral: Men and boys should ‘have permission to be vulnerable and human too—reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so be a more true and complete version of themselves.´ Gender equality is not a question about men or women nor a fight between the sexes. Gender equality is a shared vision of human progress for all.

He For She

He For She

A country example shows how far we are still from a gender equal world: The Dominican Republic, a middle-sized state in the Caribbean, exemplifies the long, rocky road ahead. One in five Dominican adolescents has been pregnant at least once, the maternity mortality rate is almost double the projected Millennium Development Goals, the rate of intimate feminicides is one of the highest in the region, and every-day sexism is part of the social reality. UN Women has established a National Programme in this country which aims to change public policies, i.e. the structural framework, in order to accelerate the progress towards gender equality. However, the underlying challenge is to change mentalities and perceptions. Men who are socially pressured to ´be a man´, own as many women as possible, be the strong part in a relationship, the provider in a family, the ‘macho’ and ‘tigre’. Women who perceive their societal role as limited to birth-givers, care-takers and accessories of men. Public policies are an important starting point for accelerating the social transformation to a more equal society in which everyone can live a life free of stereotypes and prescribed gender roles. UN Women is working towards this change – unfortunately, like many UN entities, with very limited resources. Transforming politics and minds – as long as it might take – will eventually lead to a full realisation of human rights for everyone. This is worth all the efforts.

The 6th United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Global Forum and Youth Event in Bali, Indonesia

The 6th United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Global Forum and Youth Event in Bali, Indonesia

Photo Credit: Indonesia.Travel

Through the 29th and 30th of August, the 6th United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Global Forum was celebrated in Bali, Indonesia. The theme for this year’s Forum was “Unity in Diversity: Celebrating Diversity for Common and Shared Values”, gathering heads of state and state representatives, academics, journalists and religious leaders from around the globe for a short but intense summit divided into break-out sessions dealing with such diverse topics as inter-religiosity in education or the treatment of migration stories in the media. Along with the Global Forum, a Youth Event took place during the 28th, where 100 youth from 41 different countries were selected from more than 3000 applicants to work together under the topic “The Role of Youth in Promoting “Unity in Diversity” through Education, Media, and Migration” in order to create youth-led recommendations which would be afterwards delivered to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.

I was one of the 100 lucky youths to actively participate in the Youth Event and attend the 6th UNAoC Global Forum, an experience I would like to share with a few words. The 28th was a very busy day. A briefing awaited us at 6:30 a.m. to go through the schedule of the day so there was little time to suffer the jet lag. Once at the convention center, after a welcoming speech delivered by the UN High Representative for the AoC Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, we split into four break out session with small discussion groups dealing with four main issues: Education, Media, Migration and Entrepreneurship/Employment. Every group consisted of around 25 participants but also of international observers and resource personnel. Amidst the 25 participants there was a facilitator, who mediated the discussion, two note-takers and a time tracker, who was to ensure the very packed schedule we had for the morning was adequately followed. Aside from a participant, I was also an active discussion member, serving as one of the note-takers in my small discussion group, which was in charge of creating recommendations dealing with the issue of migration. I felt happy and relieved to see that even though our roles had been strictly compartmentalized in theory, during the discussion the team of active participants helped each other in an effort to create a welcoming environment for everyone to contribute with their thoughts, to lead the discussion toward what were considered core issues and to phrase them in the shape of recommendations that would satisfy the whole of the group.

If there is something to learn from sitting at a table with 25 people you have just met, from many different countries and obvious different backgrounds, but all with a clear goal to achieve (and a tight schedule to do so) is that it can become frustrating, and at the same time incredibly intense and inspiring. Whatever you consider to be the pressing issues in your country, your culture or the political system you live in, they are probably not of much importance to someone living on the other side of the world, and that is OK. By sitting at such table one hears (probably for the first time) about the issues of the other. We learn to listen, we practice empathy, and struggle to compromise. With an exercise like this one it is also made clear how painfully difficult it must be in a real meeting between state representatives, as every word is questioned over and over and a single sentence feels like a great achievement. By the afternoon, after a quick lunch and even quicker visit to the Taman Ayun temple to clear our minds, the recommendations were ready to be read out loud, tweaked a little bit and declared finished. An inspiring speech by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, including a short but amusing Q&A, closed the day. Many ran to shake his hand or take a selfie, only a few succeeded. After a huge group photograph it was time to go back to the hotel.

A few days after the Youth Event, all of us back in our countries, we receive an email from Francesco Candelari, one of the incredibly professional AoC staff that accompanied us during the whole trip: our recommendations will in fact reach the desk of the Secretary General and will also be given to the Secretary General Envoy on Youth Ahmad Alhendawi. But bear in mind, thousands of recommendations are produced by the international community every year and not all of them can be properly followed up. Expect no miracles, is what he is stating politely. Even so, at the end of the day, it is not that important if our recommendations are actually taken into account. What matters is the chance of getting to know like-minded, brilliant people and, through talking to them, opening small windows into their worldviews, their cultures and hopes for the future. All the conversations I had during the three days of the Forum, however brief, have helped shape me into a better, more open and understanding person. I believe it felt the same to my fellow youth participants, and that is a very good step towards become a future leader, if it is the path of any of us to become one. After all, that is what the UNAoC Youth Event was truly all about.

A proposal of a solution to the Kashmir conflict

imageBefore going towards the proposal of Kashmir’s conflict, I consider it is important to discuss the history of the conflict. Pakistan and India achieved independence on 14th and 15 August 1947 respectively and after conquering freedom from British Rule both of the two new dominions wanted to keep control of the acceding willing independent States ruled under Nizam’s Order. Kashmir was also one of them but interestingly the majority of the population of Kashmir belongs to the religion of Islam while the ruler was the professor of Hindu Religion. The majority of the population were willing to accede Kashmir with Pakistan while India occupied it through manipulations and intrigues involving Maharaja Patiala initially and then slowly roping in Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir and Sheikh Abdullah, a popular leader of Kashmir. Both were hoodwinked with false promises and dream of secular India that proved to be a mirage. Hari Singh wanted Kashmir to remain independent. The growing Indian clandestine political activity sent alarm bells to the newly created independent state of Pakistan.​


Continue reading

My Road to Success as a Volunteer


Mr. Seleman at UNESCO`s HQ in Paris when he attend 8th UNESCO
Youth forum in 2013

We can create the world we dream of”. My name is Seleman Yusuph Kitenge. I`m a Tanzanian young leader aged 25 years old. I`m  the seventh born in the family of eight children. I finished primary education in 2004 and joined Azania Secondary school where I graduated in 2008. In 2009 I commenced my college education at Tanzania Public Service College and graduated with a Diploma in Public Sector Financial management. Currently, I`m a third year student at the Open University of Tanzania, pursuing a Bachelor degree of Arts in Sociology. I`m a Native Swahili speaker, fluent in English and a basic German speaker, I`m passionate about sustainable development, humanitarian work, media and communication, international relations, photographing, social activism and peace advocacy. I have previously volunteered as a Peer Educator for Don Bosco Life Choices Program, Azania Roots and shoots club as a Coordinator, Chairman and Founder of Tanzania Public Service College United Nations chapter and served as a Consultant to President of Tanzania Public Service college student organization.

Continue reading

The Status of Refugees in Kenya

UNHCR E Hockstein Kenya1

Source: UNHCR in Kenya / E. Hockstein

A refugee is defined as a person who has fled his or her own country to seek refuge in another country for the safety of his/her life and limb because of a well-founded fear of persecution. The definition of a refugee also covers those who are compelled to leave their domicile or place of habitual residence because of among other things, ‘events seriously disturbing public order in his or her country of origin’. The main sources of International Law on refugees are the 1951 Refugee Convention, and the OAU Convention of 1969. Kenya acceded to the 1951 Convention but has not ratified it (according to the UNHCR website in 2014). The obligations under these documents include not sending a person back to a country where he or she may be persecuted, and in the case of the OAU convention where his or her life is threatened because of the threats to public order which form the basis for refugee status; not discriminating among groups of refugees; the right of refugees to freedom of movement and to work in the country (though a three year limit on the right to work can be imposed to protect the local labour market); the same right to basic education as a national; the duty of refugees to obey the law in the country where they are received. The OAU Convention adds that members states shall ‘use their best endeavours’ to receive refugees and ensure their settlement. Continue reading

Fundraising during a natural disaster



Fundraising during a natural disaster is pivotal. A natural disaster can occur at anytime and you never know what’s going to happen after that. There might be thousands of homeless people and you don’t know if you are going to have the basic necessities to survive after the disaster. Hence, it is always better to be aware of the fundraising strategy during times like these.

Regardless of whether or not you have been affected by the disaster, you can still make a difference to the life of others. If you are considering an online fundraiser then technology and communication will be the key. You will need electricity, internet access, cell phone and a computer to carry out an effective online fundraiser.

Continue reading