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November 16, 2017
Briefing on Refugee Crisis/ Migration & Anti-Terrorism

Over 60 League members and friends convened at the United Nations on Thursday, November 16th, for the annual League’s Day at the UN. Attendees toured the newly renovated facilities, seeing the updated Security Council Chambers, various gifted art pieces from member states, and the Human Rights wall. Lunch in the Delegates’ Dining Room was beautiful and delicious as usual. The briefing in the afternoon on the topics of the Forced Labor & Human Trafficking and Gender Issues.

Gender Issues Discussion
Moderator: Suzanne Stassevitch
Speaker: Saphira Rameshfar

Saphira Rameshfar is a Representative of the Baha’i International Community’s UN Office in New York. Prior to this, Saphira was at the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs headquarters in New York working on capacity development policy. As an Australian, she worked for the Australian Federal Government Department of Agriculture on international trade negotiations and market strategy for Australian agricultural exports. Ms. Rameshfar dedicated three years to projects aimed at the empowerment of youth in Australia as well as in communities throughout the Asia Pacific region and North and South America. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Science, Bachelor of Economics, Research Degree in Ecology, Postgraduate qualifications in Public Administration, and Governance as well as a Masters of International Law (Australian National University).

Moderator: Suzanne Stassevitch, UN Observer, LWVUS

Following her mother’s path into the League of Women Voters, Suzanne has represented the LWV in a variety of positions since 1999. Highlights include:

  • Representing the League of Women Voters on the San Francisco’s Ballot Simplification Committee and • leading Voter Service programs for LWVSF, which expanded voting materials distribution and availability city-wide in English, Spanish and Chinese, and
  • Coordinating a vote-by mail- promotion and a ranked choice voting education program.
  • League commitments expanded in 2009 when Suzanne joined the Board of Directors of the League of Women Voters of California leading:
  • Statewide Community Education campaign for the inauguration of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission and
  • The public education for the first independent redistricting after the 2010 census.

Forced Labor & Human Trafficking

Rosalee Keech, UN Observer, LWVUS

Rosalee has been a League member for more than 10 years. She serves on the UN's NGO Working Group on Girls and as co-chair for its task force to prevent violence against women and girls. Her focus at the UN is to promote the democratic process and the prevention of violence. Rosalee is a member of the League of Women Voters of the Montville Area (New Jersey) and is a past member on the Board of Directors of LWVUS.

Simone Monasebian, Director of the New York Office of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

Simone Monasebian is currently the Director of the New York Office of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). UNODC is the lead UN agency tasked with combatting all forms of human trafficking and is the guardian of the UN Protocol to Prevent Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, as well as the manager of the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. 

Prior to her appointment with UNODC, Ms. Monasebian served as Principal Defender of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and before that a Trial Attorney with the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Office of the Prosecutor, where she prosecuted war criminals in complex, multi-defendant cases.  She was one of the prosecutors responsible for the 2003 landmark convictions of three media executives who fanned the flames of genocide in their newspaper and radio station.  That case raised important principles concerning the role of the media, which had not been addressed at the level of international criminal justice since Nuremberg.

Her work in the landmark “Media Case” was prominently featured in the book “Justice On The Grass: Three Rwandan Journalists, Their Trial for War Crimes and a Nation's Quest for Redemption” by Dina Temple-Raston (2005).
Before becoming a war crimes prosecutor, Ms. Monasebian specialized in international and national, complex, criminal litigation in a New York law firm.  She has also served as an adjunct professor on human trafficking and international criminal law in Seton Hall Law School’s Zanzibar and Cairo programs, and as Court TV’s on air Legal Analyst for international criminal trials. Ms. Monasebian is a member of the New York, Connecticut and District of Columbia bars, and began her career as a journalist, with a nationally syndicated radio program, where she became one of the very first journalists covering rap and hip hop culture in the early 1980s.

We’d like to thank our co-sponsors for the day – they provide great support for the League, but also encourage attendance by their own members and friends to enlarge the participation at the UN. Their members add greatly to our discussions at the UN.

  • Zonta International District 4

  Zonta International District 4