Human Rights 

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: migration tragedy in the Rio Grande, drugs report, Torture Victims Day

Tragic image of drowned father and child in Rio Grande spurs migration debate The drowning of a father and his toddler daughter in the Rio Grande is a heartbreaking and preventable tragedy that countries should do all in their power to prevent happening in the future, the head of the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Wednesday. Filippo Grandi’s comments about Oscar Ramirez and his 23-month-old daughter Valeria follow the publication of a photograph showing them lying face down in the shallows of the river that separates Mexico from the…

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Human Rights 

Vile act of torture prohibited ‘under all circumstances’, UN chief affirms on International Day to support victims

This was part of his message for the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, on Wednesday, describing the despicable act, as a vicious attempt to break a person’s will.  The United Nations has long condemned torture as one of the vilest acts perpetrated by humankind, saying that it seeks to “annihilate the victim’s personality” and denies the inherent dignity of the human being. Despite its absolute prohibition under international law, torture persist in all regions of the world and is often uses around national and border security. Moreover,…

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Development Health Advice 

Two-thirds of global drug deaths now from opioids: UN drugs report

The study from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), also shows that the negative health consequences associated with drugs are more severe and widespread than previously thought, with around 35 million people suffering from drug use disorders and requiring treatment services. Higher figures attributed to improved research and data Some 11 million people injected drugs in 2017, 1.4 million of whom are living with HIV, and 5.6 million with hepatitis C. UNODC explains the significantly higher figures are due in part to improved research and more precise data,…

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Human Rights 

Peace dividend palpable in South Sudan, but ‘grassroots’ are moving faster than elites, says Shearer

Special Representative and head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), David Shearer, was briefing the Security Council in New York on efforts to build a durable peace and protect civilians from the ravages of a brutal conflict that erupted between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir, and his former deputy, Riek Machar, in 2013.   Last September, a revitalized peace agreement was signed between the two, and it has largely held: “The drop in political violence…has meant hundreds, if not thousands of people are alive, who otherwise would…

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Human Rights 

Moratorium call on surveillance technology to end ‘free-for-all’ abuses: UN expert

David Kaye, who’s the United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, made the appeal as he prepared to present his latest report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva. He highlighted that while States were largely responsible, companies appeared to be “operating without constraint” too, in a “free for all” private surveillance industry environment. “Surveillance tools can interfere with human rights, from the right to privacy and freedom of expression to rights of association and assembly, religious belief, non-discrimination, and public participation,” the Special Rapporteur said in…

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Human Rights 

New UN report on families in a changing world puts ‘women’s rights at their core’

UN Women’s new report, “Progress of the World’s Women 2019-2020: Families in a Changing World”, shows that families, in all their diversity, “can be critical drivers of gender equality, provided decision-makers deliver policies rooted in the reality of how people live today, with women’s rights at their core”, said UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. But it also adds that families can also be breeding grounds of conflict, inequality and, far too often, violence. Anchored in global data, innovative analysis and specific case studies, the report paints a picture of…

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Human Rights 

Monday’s Daily Brief: human rights in the Near East and a Forum for Refugees

Statelessness for terrorists’ families, never an acceptable option, urges UN rights chief Thousands of suspected foreign ISIL terrorist fighters and their families who are being held in detention in Syria and Iraq, must be treated fairly by their captors and taken back by their home countries, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Monday. In an address to Member States marking the start of the Human Rights Council’s 41st session in Geneva, Michelle Bacheletexplained that more than 55,000 men, women and children have been rounded up since the fall of the…

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Human Rights 

Statelessness for terrorists’ families, never an acceptable option, urges UN rights chief

In an address to Member States marking the start of the Human Rights Council’s 41st session in Geneva, Michelle Bachelet explained that more than 55,000 men, women and children have been rounded up since the fall of the self-styled “Caliphate” in the spring. “While the majority of these individuals are Syrian or Iraqi, they also include alleged foreign fighters from nearly 50 countries,” Ms. Bachelet said, noting that at least 11,000 suspected family members of foreign ISIL fighters – or Dae’sh, as the group is known in the Arab world…

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Human Rights 

Ensure that widows are ‘not left out or left behind’, UN chief urges on International Day 

In the “absence of social and legal protection”, he said in his message, “widowed women’s lifetime earnings and savings are often too little to avoid poverty”.   Even in countries with good pension coverage, “women are significantly more likely to suffer poverty in old age than men”, he continued, pointing out that “social services are particularly important for older widows who may live alone or have greater need for elderly care services”.  Rosalina Tuyuc Velásquez (2nd left) helped to set up the Center for the Historical Memory of Women in…

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Human Rights 

In Venezuela, Bachelet calls on Government to release prisoners, appeals for ‘bold steps towards compromise’

The High Commissioner for Human Rights arrived in the beleagured South American nation on Wednesday at the invitation of the Government of Nicolas Maduro, having expressed deep concern in an address to the Human Rights Council in March, over the country’s “dramatically” deteriorating rights situation overall, and the “continued criminalization of peaceful protest and dissent”.  Speaking to reporters on Friday night at the Maiquetia international airport, Ms. Bachelet – a former two-term president of Chile – said the Government had agreed the new OHCHR team would provide technical help and advice and “continue…

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