Human Rights 

Terrorism survivors: ‘I lived in fear that I would be killed’

For this final story in our special UN News series, we’ll hear from Fati Yahaya, who is 24-years old and comes from the village of Koghum in the north-east of Nigeria. She and her two young children were taken by armed insurgents in 2015 and spent three years as their prisoners. She has been living in Minawao, a camp for Nigerian refugees in the Far North region of Cameroon, since June 2018. Boko Haram came to my village Koghum in March 2015. It was a Wednesday evening at around 10pm…

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Human Rights 

Friday’s Daily Brief: Education key for Rohingya, DR Congo violence continues, Zimbabwe protest latest, women’s rights in Iran, environmental protection

Two years after exodus, Myanmar’s ‘desperate’ Rohingya youth need education, skills: UNICEF The daily struggle to survive for Myanmar’s Rohingya people in one of the world’s largest refugee settlements, has caused “overwhelming” despair and jeopardized the hopes of an entire generation, the head of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Henrietta Fore, said on Friday. In a report marking two years since the arrival of around 745,000 Rohingya civilians in Bangladesh – after fleeing State-led persecution and violence in Myanmar – Executive Director Fore appealed for urgent investment in education and skills training.…

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Human Rights 

‘Quash’ convictions and release women jailed for protesting against wearing veils in Iran, urge UN rights experts

“We are alarmed that the arrest and lengthy sentences handed to these women are directly related to the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and assembly in the pursuit of gender equality in Iran,” the experts said in a joint statement on Friday. They called upon the Iranian authorities to quash the convictions and “immediately release all human rights defenders who have been arbitrarily detained for their work in advocating women’s rights, and to ensure full respect for the rights of women to freedom of opinion and…

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Human Rights 

Environmental protection moves ‘closer to the people’ through new human rights agreement

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) will strengthen cooperation with OHCHR, as threats to individuals and communities defending their environmental and land rights intensify. Reports suggest that an average of more than three rights defenders were killed every week last year.  Although more than 150 countries have recognized the right to a health environment in their constitutions or legal frameworks, “significantly more work is needed” to inform policy makers, institutions and the public, say the leaders, both women, of the two UN bodies.  “A healthy environment is vital to fulfilling our aspiration to ensure people…

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Human Rights 

UN warns of spike in grave violations against children in Mali as ‘the new normal’

“We must not accept the suffering of children as the new normal. All parties must stop attacks on children and take all necessary measures to keep them out of harm’s way, in line with international human rights and humanitarian law,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. She added that children should be going to school and playing with their friends, not worrying about avoiding violence or being forced to fight. The Malian Government has been seeking to restore stability and rebuild following a series of setbacks since early 2012 that…

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Human Rights 

Friday’s Daily Brief: Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Yemen food aid, IDs for Rohingya, protect fleeing Malians, Nagasaki Peace Ceremony

‘Preserve, revitalize and promote’ indigenous languages, or lose a ‘wealth of traditional knowledge’, UN chief says  Secretary-General António Guterres underscored the urgency to “preserve, revitalize and promote indigenous languages” in his message for the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, Celebrated on Friday.  “Languages are how we communicate, and they are inextricably linked to our cultures, histories and identity”, the UN chief said, noting that 2019 also marks the International Year of Indigenous Languages.    He pointed out that almost half of the world’s estimated 6,700 languages, which are mostly indigenous, risk extinction.…

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Human Rights 

‘Preserve, revitalize and promote’ indigenous languages, or lose a ‘wealth of traditional knowledge’, UN chief says

“Languages are how we communicate, and they are inextricably linked to our cultures, histories and identity”, the UN chief said, noting that 2019 also marks the International Year of Indigenous Languages.  Indigenous languages are disappearing at an alarming rate, each one taking with it a cultural and intellectual heritage. We must protect languages under threat of extinction. #IndigenousDay pic.twitter.com/GaHSKc6OKN — António Guterres (@antonioguterres) August 9, 2019 He pointed out that almost half of the world’s estimated 6,700 languages, which are mostly indigenous, risk extinction. “With every language that disappears, the…

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Human Rights 

UN rights chief bemoans unilateral sanctions on Venezuela, fearing ‘far-reaching implications’

Tensions started escalating at the end of January, when Juan Guaidó, head of the country’s National Assembly, challenged the legitimacy of sitting President Nicolás Maduro and was declared interim president by the National Assembly. President Maduro has been in power since 2013 and was sworn in again for a second term on 10 January. “The sanctions are extremely broad and fail to contain sufficient measures to mitigate their impact on the most vulnerable sectors of the population”, said Michelle Bachelet, High Commissioner for Human Rights. “I fear that they will…

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Human Rights 

Steps taken to end Saudi ‘guardianship’ system for women, ‘encouraging’ start

“Any progress will remain very frail unless accompanied by wider reforms and by measures to ensure that rights are reflected and enshrined in the constitution of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and not solely through royal decrees,” the six experts said in a joint statement. Saudi Arabia loosened some social restrictions on women in 2017. And now, by Royal decree, Saudi women will be able to apply for passports. Those over 21 will be allowed to travel independently – without permission from their so-called guardians – by the end of…

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Human Rights 

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: Syrian detainees, Zimbabwe hunger crisis, Kabul attack, Mexico disappearances, new tech to feed the world

UN Security Council ‘utterly failed’ Syrian detainees: a victim’s plea to ‘end impunity and stop this horror’ The Security Council has “utterly failed Syrian detainees and their families”, Amina Khoulani, co-founder of Families for Freedom, told the Security Council on Wednesday, during a meeting focused on those who have been jailed or gone missing across Syria, during years of brutal conflict. In a rare opportunity for the Council to hear directly from family members of people forcibly disappeared, Ms. Khoulani spelled out: “It is your responsibility to protect Syrians from…

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