17 september 2020

— Union of European Federalists President Sandro Gozi responded to the first speech by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on the State of the Union, saying, “Excellent, Ursula von der Leyen, mission accomplished: we Europeans are ready for change, our reaction as the European Union to the crisis caused by the Coronavirus shows that mutual trust and shared sovereignty are the only real way to the common good. Now is the time to move forward: let us launch the Conference on the future of Europe and make this change happen without taboos … We must also strengthen transnational democracy, of which the EU is in need today more than ever to counter the internal and external enemies and achieve its own ambitions.”

— On Wednesday, outgoing UN General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande of Nigeria praised delegates to the 74th session “for their progressive action, most notably in passing a widely co-sponsored resolution at the outset of COVID-19 epidemic to ensure fair global access to medicines and vaccines.” Muhammad-Bande said, “We started this session guided by the hopes of the people we serve. We didn’t know 2020 would be defined by a pandemic. … This is a moment of reckoning for our shared planet. This is a time for equality.” Turkey’s Volkan Bozkır succeeds Muhammad-Bande as president for the 75th General Assembly.

— Human Rights Watch urges member countries of the International Criminal Court, in December’s elections for the ICC’s next prosecutor and six new judges, “to elect candidates based on merit, and reject vote-trading or other deal-making that often mars elections for international positions.” HRW says human rights groups “have issued questionnaires to the 4 candidates shortlisted for ICC prosecutor and the 20 candidates nominated by governments for judgeships. It is hoped that the questionnaires — which more than two dozen groups have endorsed and which probe candidates’ vision, background, experience, and views on international justice — will help ensure fair, merit-based, and transparent elections.”

— The International Partnership for Human Rights has “joined the call of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) on the Members of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to ensure that Ukraine demonstrates its serious commitment to victims of international crimes and takes the necessary steps to fully align its domestic legislation with international criminal law and international humanitarian law, including by incorporating provisions enabling the effective investigation and prosecution of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes by Ukraine’s national authorities.”

— In a French-language piece on the Association of World Citizens website, René Wadlow considers international responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, writing that organizations like the World Health Organization, the European Union, and the International Committee of the Red Cross are of critical importance.

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