Monday in the country known for its chocolate and high living costs is coming to an end. The temperature displayed 26 degrees Celsius today and everyone was happy about it, except me. I’m better off in the cold. That’s it. I even brought my favorite giant wool scarf and a beanie, only for the European summer. Global warming, I guess.
I woke up at 5 am before the alarm went off (clearly jet-lagged), and put on a smile ready to hit Palais des Nation where the United Nation Office at Geneva is located. The building where we were meant to be at is highly secured, in terms of having us walking around for a good 15 minutes to find out that we were in the wrong building.
The opening of 67th CEDAW started at 10 am in the morning where Madam Chairman gave welcome remarks and the committee members shared their long experiences with work of women’s rights. Thereafter it was time for lunch, and to finish translating the oral statement. Again, everybody went out to enjoy the warmth and the sunshine, while I was sitting inside having a good time in the UN canteen (their salad buffet was the bomb!).
At 14 pm we went back to the XVI hall for the CSO meeting with the committee. Ladies, gentlemen, children and LGBTIQAP, this was it! It was the time for our representatives to shine. They did a good job! I can picture the nervousity of being put in the spotlight, therefore the camera was covered by the paper they were holding for a few seconds. Many of the committee members were interested in the situation of women in Italy, but Thailand received a good few questions too. After 2 rounds of questioning and answering, a representative of NHRC was presented and that was their only chance to bring their contribution to the table.
The feeling of being at Palais des Nation was indescribable. Two years ago, I was a human rights undergrad at a university in the South of Sweden, and coming to Geneva, to witness what was written in textbooks and academic articles in real life, is just, you know- indescribable.