Presentation to UNA-USA Council of Organizations 75th Anniversary

By Sophia Murashkovsky Romma, Co-Chair, New York City Bar Association United Nations Committee

Numerous languages are spoken by designated delegates to the United Nations and a myriad of nations stand represented at UN plenary sessions and working group deliberations. UN Headquarter Halls echo with a cacophony of steadfast desire in upholding the international rule of law and fortifying the principles of civil society. The language barrier is broken as skilled interpreters simultaneously translate into official languages. The word peace needs no translation to garner universal meaning. The United Nations strives for world peace, security and the betterment of humanity—a humanity which is plagued by world leaders who all too often lose the righteous path catapulting nations and their citizens into terror. The United Nations has two main goals: to maintain peace and to uphold human dignity. As Co-Chair of the United Nations Committee of the New York City Bar Association; I am reminded of the United Nations Flag with its map of the world surrounded by a wreath of olive branches. The branches symbolize peace.

The New York City Bar Association and the UN Committee bands together in alignment with the purposes which guide the United Nations. The New York City Bar reaffirms faith in fundamental human rights, in the worth of all human beings, in the autonomy of nation states, in the equal rights of all people as we stand united in maintaining international peace and in preventing the scourge of war, avarice and atrocities against humanity. Our organization and the UN Committee, in particular, draws its power not solely from its own legal sources but from collaborating with NGO’s, human rights organizations, human rights attorneys, fearless civil rights activists, truth seeking journalists and the learned in the field of civic/social/racial justice—those sharing common interests geared towards peaceful uses of nuclear energy, fighting hunger, addressing climate change, providing aid to women and children, aiding refugees, sustainable development, gender equality, health calamities, criminal justice reform, positive governance by focusing on the elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination, holding those culpable of unconscionable crimes against humanity to accountability and above all, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; professing hope that all nations respect the legal inalienable rights and safeguard the sanctity of our multicultural populations.

Recently, we have been concerned with Sustainable Development Goals, the implementation of the World Humanitarian Summit, and the responsibility of UN Peacekeepers both to protect and to respect human rights norms. We have partnered with international advocate organizations and governments, and published the UN Update, a weekly compilation of UN related events and a review of significant developments within the UN system. By building partnerships and establishing strong connective ties with those seeking to protect the delicate nature of civil society, the New York City Bar holds hundreds of events, providing access to justice and promoting civil liberties. The New York City Bar’s United Nations Committee engages in a broad range of substantive issues that concern UN Member States. In the spirit of this momentous celebration of the inviolable peacekeeping efforts, we have recently issued potent statements condemning the Iranian government’s use of force against peaceful protestors and a statement on the Illegal Annexation of Ukrainian Sovereign territory. We have hosted such important events as the International Law Conference on the Status of Women, the International Holocaust Remembrance Day and Boots on the Ground in Haiti with critical lessons applicable to civil society. Ms. Roosevelt was forward looking—she wrote the memorable book, Tomorrow is Now. Together, we can strive for a humane society tomorrow, and make that our reality, today!

Sophia Murashkovsky Romma, Ph.D., Esq.
Member of the American Bar Association, New York State Bar, New York City Bar
Co-Chair of the New York City Bar Association United Nations Committee
Member of the New York City Bar Association European Affairs Committee
Assistant Director/Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law School Writing Center
Foreign Policy/Extremism Fellow at Human Rights First