Aihearkisto: Delegaatiot

My week as an ELSA delegate

I had a normal Sunday ahead – certainly nothing special to be expected. I was deleting junk mail from my email folder when I noticed email beginning with the words ‘Congratulations Laura!’. I was selected for United Nations OHCRC’s delegation! (To those who don’t know: OHCHR is an abbreviation from ‘Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights’).

In the beginning I wasn’t sure about applying but finally decided to submit an application. Just because your chances to get a delegation place are significantly better than without applying at all. So I submitted my resume(s) and motivation letter. In the application process you’ll be asked to provide information about your ELSA activities as well as your academic coursework/ knowledge/experience in the field. You don’t need to be ELSA’s board member to get selected and in the application process you can compensate lack of ELSA experience with academic knowledge or internship. It’s smart to provide a list of your coursework and legal internships. So no worries for those who are new with ELSA. : )

Covenant examination//Lausanne train station: On my way to work

After the selection was made I booked the flights and started to consult some friends in Geneva.  (Thanks to my awesome friends in Switzerland I got an apartment 60km away from Geneva, in Lausanne).

On Monday the exciting part (the delegation!!) started. The feeling when I went through the security control, got my UN badge and met my delegate friends at the palace was something quite different (and quite awesome!) from my average day. Together we found our session room and found seats in the middle of other NGOs. Everyone seemed to know what they were doing.  Atmosphere was something I expected from the United Nations – quite severe, really respectful and the room brought together people from various countries. Almost all continents were present.


United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Palais Wilson in Geneva (The place where our sessions were held).

Session started with adoption of the agenda. We had two sessions a day, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon – 3 hours each. The representatives of the country whose report was being discussed, members of the Human Rights Committee and NGOs (read: us) were all together.


Our delegate squad! France x2, Azerbaizan, Ireland and Finland. It was an honor to meet Kalpana, Marion, Bayram and Emma!

After the adoption of the agenda, the Human Rights Committee asked detailed questions about the actual impact of new legal instruments, their enforcement and statistics.

Those human rights problems that were discussed varied from hate crimes to cases of torture and from impunity to position of displaced people in Colombia. So real things and difficult ones. During the sessions countries were required to prove that their measures have had an impact. In case of new legislation countries had for instance to prove the effectiveness of the measures and provide information about the judgments and procedures. In the case of Poland (abortion law) the country had to ensure that those women whose health was in danger according to the law actually had an access to affordable health care services.

As an ELSA delegate you’re not allowed to make any statements.  So you mainly listened, made notes and in a way anticipated the answers.


                                       Session about to start. Colombia’s turn!

All in all, Geneva was an incredible experience. The city has also a lot to offer for law students interested in international law since the Geneva Graduate Institutions has many seminars about actual topics. There were seminars about migration crisis and TTIP in the course of our delegation week.

Only minus in Geneva is that is ridiculously expensive so it’s really not a bad idea to bring your own food with you. As a thumb rule meat and fruits cost four times more than in Finland. I managed to survive with 40 euros/food/week with the help of protein powders and porridges (from Finland), quark (the only thing that is cheap in Switzerland!) and packed sandwiches (not so cheap but in comparison a meal at Mc Donald’s cost 15 euros). So, you can survive.


PS If you want to be a part of delegation and ask about applying/delegation/anything else just ask me. : )


Laura Sirpoma


ELSA delegation in New York

In Spring 2016 two of my dreams became true! One of them was visiting the United Nations Headquarters in New York and the other one being actually visiting New York. In December 2015 I was lucky to get an email stating that I was appointed as a delegate of ELSA International to the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem, April 19th to 21st, in New York. I was one of the five delegates appointed by ELSA International.

The delegation started with finding (stalking) all the other delegates from Facebook and creating a group for planning the trip. The delegation consisted of myself from Finland (and Estonia), Matéj (from Czech Republic), Federico (from Italy) and Yuriy (from Ukraine). Unfortunately, Rahmat (from Indonesia) was not able to participate. At this point it is safe to say we had a great variety of different cultures attending and I couldn’t be more excited.

You’re probably thinking that nothing could go wrong on a perfect-sounding trip like this – well I’m going to stop you right there, because I think in my case pretty much everything went wrong, at least in the beginning :D. So I’m struggling if I should actually tell the whole story or just the fun part. Well, after giving it a thought, I’ve decided to write a little bit of both.

I started my trip on 15th of April. I had a connecting flight from Tallinn (connection in Helsinki) to NY. Since my Tallinn-Helsinki flight was delayed, I missed my NY flight with the result that I was seated on Helsinki-Heathrow, Heathrow-New York flights. Instead of arriving to NY at 4pm on Friday, I was there 7 hours later, which meant that everybody else had already headed to the apartment and I had to survive totally new place all by myself. Oh, and I also got my luggage two days before heading back to Finland, which automatically meant a lot of shopping at the Woodbury outlet area. YAY! But enough about the obstacles! Now to the fun part, that is the delegation itself! J

The delegation lasted for three days, but we all stayed in US approximately for a week. Three of us rented the apartment together, and one of us stayed at his friend’s place. The UN Headquarter was amazing, and of course the delegation itself. Even though it was a shame we were not given the access to side events where actually all the hottest debates were held, we managed to make the best of our time at the UN.

If you are not familiar, the UNGASS is a meeting of UN member states to assess and debate global issues such as health, gender, or in this case the world’s drug control priorities. Lastly, a special session on drug problems was held in 1998, its focus being the total elimination of drugs worldwide. Today, the approach is somewhat different, that is more humane, when discussing the drug problem. The outcome document of UNGASS was “Our joint commitment to effectively addressing and countering the world drug problem”, adopted in April 19, 2016. This document provided recommendations and guidelines for Member States on drug control, including measures to combat demand and supply of illicit drugs, new emerging challenges in drug control, international cooperation and alternative development programs for drug-producing regions. Recommendations of the outcome document were one of the major topics to be discussed during general debate and also round-tables. As there is a definite progress in the new document, many countries argued the document to be still rather toothless, which it actually is.

The statements given by the states were interesting and first of all engrossing. Majority of the states tended to agree on terms how to make the progress regarding the world drug problem, but there were exceptions supporting criminalization of drug dealing/using and the capital punishment for drug dealers for example. Our delegation agreed that the major topics of the delegation were: a new approach on drug control; supply and demand reduction; harm reduction; legalization and decriminalization of possession and use of some of the narcotic drugs; capital punishment; indigenous communities and traditional cultivation of plants containing narcotic or psychotropic substances; new psychoactive substances; organized crime, money laundering, corruption, terrorism and other drug-related crimes; and the principle of common and shared responsibility.
All in all New York treated us well and the delegation was definitely the best part of it. If in doubt whether to go or not, do yourself a favor and go! ;)


Kadri Vatman

ELSA:n delegaattina Genevessä

ELSA tarjoaa opiskelijalle paljon erilaisia vaihtoehtoja kokemuksen kartuttamiseen luentosalin ulkopuolella. Yksi sellainen, valitettavasti hieman vähemmän tunnettu, on ELSAn delegaatiot. ELSAn delegaattina pääsee osallistumaan tarkkailijan roolissa eri kansainvälisten organisaatioiden toimielimien kokouksiin ja kokemaan aitiopaikalta miten kansainvälisten organisaatioiden työ toimii.

Olin itse keväällä 2015 ELSAn delegaattina YK:n kidutuksenvastaisen komitean kokouksessa Genevessä. En ollut varsinaisesti suunnitellut delegaatioon osallistumista, mutta kun delegaatiohaku julkaistiin ja siellä oli minua kiinnostava paikka ja vielä harvinaisesti kalenteriin sopivaan aikaan päätin hakea. Kun tieto delegaatiopaikasta tuli, ryhdyin saman tien lentojen ja majoituksen varaamiseen.

Delegaatio, johon osallistuin, kesti maanantaista perjantaihin. Delegaatin tehtävät eivät pääsääntöisesti ole kovinkaan haasteelliset, tärkeimpänä tehtävänä on kuunnella kokouksia ja ammentaa itselleen oppia ja kokemusta. Sekundäärisenä tehtävänä on sitten tarvittaessa mainostaa ELSAa ja osata kysyttäessä kertoa yhdistyksestä. YK:n kidutuksenvastainen komitea valvoo kidutuksenvastaisen sopimuksen noudattamista ja kokouksissa käydään läpi jäsenvaltioiden tilanteita sopimuksen täytäntöönpanossa. Osallistuimme viikon aikana pääsääntöisesti kahteen kahden tunnin kokoukseen päivässä. Tapaamiset oli rakennettu niin, että aamupäivällä kuuntelimme kulloinkin tentattavana olevan valtion raportin, sekä komitean jäsenten esittämät kysymykset raporttiin. Seuraavana päivänä kyseinen maa pääsi vastaamaan edellisenä aamuna esitettyihin kysymyksiin. Delegaation aikana huomasi hyvin, miten valtava hajonta ihmisoikeustilanteissa on eri puolilla maailmaa. Kun meidän kokouksessamme oli maita kuten yhtäältä Luxemburg ja toisaalta Kolumbia ja Serbia, ongelmat olivat aivan täysin eri mittaluokassa.


Yksi erinomainen etu delegaatioon osallistumisesta Genevessä oli mahdollisuus vierailla eri paikoissa. Delegaatiopassilla pääsi YK:n päämajaan sekä Palais Wilsoniin, joka on YK:n ihmisoikeusvaltuutetun päämaja, ja jossa meidän kokouksemme pidettiin. Käytimme koko vapaa-aikamme melko tiiviisti kaupungin ja erinäisten tärkeiden ja kuuluisien paikkojen kiertämiseen. Huonona puolena voisi mainita Geneven poskettoman hintatason, joka saa suomalaisenkin raapimaan päätään. Delegaatioissa pääsääntöisesti joutuu itse kustantamaan majoitukset ja ruuan, joten viikko Genevessä tekee todennäköisesti kyllä loven kukkaroon. Toisaalta täytyy muistaa, että delegaatioita on tarjolla muuallakin kuin Genevessä, esimerkiksi Strasbourg, Wien ja New York ovat melko yleisiä kohteita. Ja vaikka oma lompakko reissulla laihtuikin, olen ehdottomasti sitä mieltä, että kokemus oli joka pennin arvoinen. Suosittelen ehdottomasti valitsemaan omaa sydäntä lähellä olevan delegaatiopaikan ja hakemaan, kokemus tarjoaa taatusti aivan uudenlaisen perspektiivin asioihin.

Tarkemman kuvauksen delegaatioviikon sisällöstä voi lukea (englanniksi) ELSIMIAsta (ELSA Finlandin lehti) numero: 2/2015:

More information about delegations you can read from my previous post in ELSIMIA:

Petri Freundlich