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Good morning, this is Kasmira. Taking place in Geneva this week is the meeting of the parties to the Aarhus Convention, a key instrument in people's right to participate in making decisions and seek justice on environmental matters. In fact, it was the first instrument that enforced human rights in the field of the environment when adopted in its namesake Danish city in 1994.

There are some important issues at stake and not every region has been playing fair, as Yves Lador, NGO Earthjustice’s UN representative, points out in today’s feature. Also happening in Geneva today, the drafting of a new Syrian constitution is due to get underway.

And we also continue with our women in Afghanistan series today, this time looking at what has happened since the several shelters that previously provided safe refuge for thousands of women shut down.

photo journaliste

Kasmira Jefford


On our radar

Photo article

People take part in a Fridays for Future demonstration in Berlin. (Photo: Keystone/ Jörg Carstensen/DPA)

🇺🇳 🌍 Countries to vote on increasing protection of environmental defenders. A group of 46 countries is set to vote in Geneva this week on a new mechanism to speed up the process of coming to the aid of environmental rights defenders amid rising cases of violence. Taking place every four years, parties will meet at the Palais des Nations under the Aarhus Convention, a key instrument adopted 20 years ago that protects the public’s access to information and justice on environmental matters.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

📜 Syrian government and opposition agree on drafting new constitution. The government and opposition co-chairs of the Syrian Constitutional Committee have agreed to start the process of drafting a new constitution, the United Nations special envoy for Syria said on Sunday. The committee tasked with drawing up a new basic law will meet at the UN in Geneva over the course of this week, marking the sixth round of talks in two years.

Reuters (EN)

Here's what else is happening

Dispatches from women in Afghanistan

Photo article

An Afghan woman looks out the window of a bus. (Keystone/AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)

🏚️ No safety under Taliban for Afghan women fleeing domestic violence. Progress made in recent years towards providing accountability for violence against women and girls has been undermined by the Taliban’s rise to power. Most of the country’s many women’s shelters that provide a place of safety from abusive family members, have been closed, with women forced to return home or face arrest.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

⚖️ Afghanistan: female judicial activists are like defectors on the run. Ayesha (her name has been changed to protect her identity) was a prominent attorney in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province. Since the Taliban takeover, she been forced into hiding like many other prominent female lawyers who fear for their lives under Taliban rule. Once leaders of the fight for women’s rights in Afghanistan, many of these women face the terrifying prospect of being pursued by the criminals they convicted. Ayesha tells her story from a number of secret locations across Afghanistan.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

Also on the agenda

📍 18 October | Maison de la Paix/Online: Tipping point or turning point? Towards a nature-positive society by 2030. WWF International head Marco Lambertini discusses the devastating events of the nature and climate crisis and how humanity can set the planet on a sustainable path.


📍 19 October | Online: Women’s peace and security in the digital age. To celebrate the 21st anniversary of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, this event explores how ICTs can be used to advance women’s role in peace processes.

ICT for peace (EN)

📍 19 October | Online: The impact of Artificial Intelligence on international relations, diplomacy and military affairs. AI is expected to have a profound impact on many spheres of human life, including on international relations, diplomacy, and military affairs. What does this technological development mean for diplomacy, and how can the international community respond?

Geneva Centre for Security Policy (EN)

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