Nujeen Mustafa at the Humanitarian Disarmament Forum. | ©Veronika Wies/HI
Every year in October, the United Nations General Assembly’s First Committee on disarmament and international security, dealing with various disarmament issues as well as with international security, holds its annual session.
The 78th session of the UNGA First Committee session spans from October 2 to November 2023.
Following theadoption by 83 States of the Political Declaration on the Strengthening the Protection of Civilians from the Humanitarian Consequences arising from the use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas (EWIPA) in Dublin in November 2022, the First Committee meeting provided a good opportunity to discuss the follow-up of this international agreement. In the current implementation phase, the political commitments of the political declaration must be translated into concrete actions. Therefore, HI representatives were present in New York along with Nujeen Mustafa, a disability rights and protection of civilians activist and survivor of the use of explosive weapons from Syria. Already during the various negotiation rounds leading to the agreement on EWIPA declaration, Nujeen had appealed with statements to the participating States to negotiate a strong text for the political declaration, leading to a real impact on the lives of civilians in armed conflicts.
During her stay in New York, Nujeen participated in meetings with representatives from Austria, Norway, and Germany. The meetings lead to invitations for Nujeen to address a military workshop in January 2024, hosted by Austria, and to speak at the first conference of States on the implementation of the EWIPA declaration in Oslo in April 2024, organized by Norway. Additionally, on the evening of October 19, Nujeen delivered a statement at a reception co-hosted by the International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW), of which HI is an active and steering committee member, and the government of Norway. She urged the participating States to uphold the promises they made when signing the declaration and to take concrete actions that would truly impact the lives of civilians affected by armed conflicts. In his opening remarks, the Norwegian ambassador expressed gratitude to Nujeen for her intervention and encouraged States to serve as regional leaders in implementing the declaration. Approximately 60 persons, including diplomats from more than 10 countries, attended the reception.
“Without real and meaningful action the political declaration will remark ink on paper with no real impact on the lives of people who desperately need it. The road to true implementation may be long, but I think that we all agree that saving lives makes it worth the effort”, Nujeen Mustafa.
Over the weekend, from October 21 to 22, she also conducted a workshop focused on the involvement of survivors in disarmament campaigns at the Humanitarian Disarmament Forum 2023, an exchange platform for NGOs involved in various campaigns related to humanitarian disarmament. Participants discussed opportunities for survivor’s engagement. Involving survivors makes campaigns more inclusive, enriches them with unparalleled experiences and offers a broader, often overlooked view of the issue, making them more impactful.
We truly thank Nujeen for her active engagement during her stay in New York!