Human Rights 

Friday’s Daily Brief: Day of the Girl Child, mayors lead on climate emergency, Turkey Syria offensive, new statelessness pledges, extremism in social media

Day of the Girl Child spotlights 25 years of progress, with more on the horizon The world’s one billion young girls, were celebrated on Friday as an “unscripted and unstoppable” force for change, with 11 October designated each year the International Day of the Girl Child.   Every day, girls under-18 are challenging stereotypes, breaking barriers, and leading movements to tackle the issues that affect them, and beyond, Secretary-General António Guterres said in his message for the Day.   “As the theme of this year’s observance underscores, they are proving to be unscripted and unstoppable” in their undertakings, from eliminating child…

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Human Rights 

Day of the Girl Child spotlights 25 years of progress, with more on the horizon

Every day, girls under-18 are challenging stereotypes, breaking barriers, and leading movements to tackle the issues that affect them, and beyond, Secretary-General António Guterres said in his message for the Day.   “As the theme of this year’s observance underscores, they are proving to be unscripted and unstoppable” in their undertakings, from eliminating child marriage, to closing the education gap, addressing violence and standing strong against the climate crisis.   The Day is an opportunity to recognize developments in the livelihoods of girls since the adoption of a visionary blueprint for the empowerment of women and girls in 1995, the Beijing Declaration and…

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Human Rights 

‘Dangerous nationalism’ seriously threatens efforts to tackle statelessness: UNHCR chief

Speaking at a meeting in Geneva aiming to convince more countries to assist the many millions of people around the world who live in nationless limbo, Mr. Grandi warned that much more action was needed, five years since UNHCR launched its #IBelong campaign to end statelessness. “The progress is far from assured: damaging forms of nationalism and the manipulation of anti-refugee and migrant sentiment – these are powerful currents internationally that risk putting progress into reverse.” Echoing those comments, UNCHR Goodwill Ambassador Cate Blanchett urged States present at the UN…

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Human Rights 

UN expresses concern following wave of street protests in Iraq and elsewhere

UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Friday called for dialogue between the Government and the demonstrators, and also expressed sadness over the loss of life. The UN human rights office, OHCHR, said reports indicate that up to 30 people have been killed in demonstrations across the country, though this number has not been verified. Hundreds more were reportedly injured, including members of the security forces, while dozens of demonstrators were detained, most of whom subsequently were released. “We are worried by reports that security forces have used live ammunition and rubber bullets in some…

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Human Rights 

‘Tenacious’ Kyrgyz lawyer and statelessness champion, wins prestigious UNHCR prize

“Azizbek Ashurov’s story is one of great personal resolve and tenacity,” said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees on Tuesday, hailing Mr. Ashurov as an example of the “power of an individual to inspire and mobilize collective action”. Speaking to journalists in Geneva, the UNHCR laureate described his family’s difficulties in gaining citizenship in Kyrgystan after moving from Uzbekistan following the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. Despite his legal training, Mr. Ashurov admitted finding the administrative hurdles involved in becoming a Kyrgyz national a significant barrier. “I realised…

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Human Rights 

Peace icon Mahatma Gandhi’s message of ‘mutual understanding, equality’ reverberates on Day of Non-Violence

“His vision continues to resonate across the world, including through the work of the United Nations for mutual understanding, equality, sustainable development, the empowerment of young people, and the peaceful resolution of disputes”, Secretary-General António Guterres said in his message commemorating the day. “In today’s turbulent times”, he continued, “violence takes many forms: from the destructive impact of the climate emergency to the devastation caused by armed conflict; from the indignities of poverty to the injustice of human rights violations to the brutalizing effects of hate speech.” On this International…

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Human Rights 

‘We need to stand up now’ for the elderly: urges UN rights expert on World Day

By 2030, 1.4 billion elderly people globally will outnumber youth – a big rise from 2017, when that figure stood at 962 million.  Numbers in the developing world are seeing the steepest hikes. In South-East Asia alone, the elderly account for nearly 10 percent of the population as of 2017, compared to eight percent in 2010. This number will continue to increase, with older people expected to make up 13.7 percent of the population by 2030, according to regional World Health Organization (WHO) data.  Given this “demographic revolution”, greater attention must be paid to specific vulnerabilities the elderly face, the UN Independent Expert on the…

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Human Rights 

Yemen prisoner release boosts hopes of peace at last for war-weary civilians

Welcoming the development, UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, said he hoped that it would lead to both sides meeting “in the nearest opportunity” to resume the discussions on a future exchange, as per the UN-led deal signed by their representatives in the Swedish capital last December. Describing the release of conflict-related prisoners as a “unilateral” move by Ansar Allah – the official name of the Houthis – Mr. Griffiths said he hoped that the move “will lead to further initiatives that will facilitate the exchange of all the…

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Human Rights 

At UN, Abbas rejects Israeli ‘arrogance’, vows to terminate all agreements if Palestinian territory is annexed

In his speech to the UN General Assembly, Mr. Abbas strongly rejected the “arrogant” pre-election announcement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s of an “illegal plan” to annex and apply sovereignty over the Jordan Valley, the northern Dead Sea and other Occupied Palestinian Territories.     Vowing that if any such plan were carried out, by any Israeli Government, Palestine would terminate all previously signed agreements and relevant obligations.  “What would you do if someone tried…to erase your presence?” he asked the delegations in the Assembly Hall and demanded: “Hasn’t the…

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Human Rights 

‘Childhood is changing, and so must we’, UNICEF declares, as world marks historic convention

The Convention is the most widely-ratified international human rights accord in history; a landmark achievement which meant “for the first time, governments explicitly recognized that children have the same human rights as adults”, UN chief António Guterres said, adding that the document put in the spotlight the “specific additional rights that recognize their special status as dependents.” The high-level meeting at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly was geared towards celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Rights of the Child, highlighting progress made in the advancement of healthy…

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