Human Rights 

Situation in central Mali ‘deteriorating’ as violence, impunity rise, UN rights expert warns

“In central Mali, I observed an accumulation of security, judicial and administrative failures that facilitates mass violence with impunity. The Malian Armed Forces and MINUSMA (UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali) have failed to provide adequate security for the civilians of the region,” Alioune Tine, the UN Independent Expert on the human rights situation in Mali, said in a statement following his visit to the country. He said that civilians have been victimized by transnational criminal organizations, terrorist groups and armed militia which are grasping control of the region.…

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Human Rights 

On World Social Justice Day, the UN labour agency  says ‘put people and planet first’

The gap between the rich and the poor is larger than previously thought. Globally, the poorest 20 per cent of any given country needs an average of more than 11 years to earn what the richest earns in one, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO). And in lower-income countries, the situation is even worse. According to ILO, someone in the poorest 20 per cent of the population needs over 26 years to earn what the richest 20 per cent does in one. This is because in lower-income countries, the…

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Human Rights 

UN rights chief, agencies appalled at civilian toll in war-torn Syria’s north-east

“No shelter is now safe,” Michelle Bachelet’s spokesperson, Rupert Colville, said. “As the Government offensive continues and people are forced into smaller and smaller pockets, she fears even more people will be killed.”   Since 1 January, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has confirmed 299 civilian deaths in Idlib, as the Syrian Government continues its major military offensive to retake the last opposition-held area of the country.   “Around 93 per cent of those deaths were caused by the Syrian Government and its allies,” Mr. Colville explained. The remaining seven per cent of fatalities were attributable to non-State armed groups.  More than 80 per cent…

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Human Rights 

Database of businesses linked to Israeli settlements ‘important initial step’ towards accountability: rights expert 

Ninety-four of the businesses are domiciled in Israel and the rest are in six other countries.  “While the release of the database will not, by itself, bring an end to the illegal settlements and their serious impact upon human rights, it does signal that sustained defiance by an occupying power will not go unanswered”, Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk said on Friday.  The UN human rights office released the information in a report published on Wednesday, in line with a 2016 request by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.  Mr.…

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Human Rights 

Transitional justice processes critical to lasting peace, Security Council hears

Michelle Bachelet was speaking during an open debate on the role of transitional justice—which includes mechanisms such as truth and reconciliation commissions—in building and sustaining peace.  “We know that lasting peace is interlinked with justice, development and respect for human rights. We know that peace does not automatically break out when weapons fall silent and atrocity crimes cease. To be able to rebuild lives — without fear of recurrence — and for society to move forward, suffering needs to be acknowledged; confidence in State institutions restored; and justice done,” she…

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Human Rights 

‘We must all do more’ to protect children in armed conflict: UN chief

Children have “no role in conflict”, the UN chief said, as he painted a damning picture of some 250 million youth living in countries affected by fighting, where worsening hostilities incite grave violations against them to soar.  “Attacks on hospitals and schools deny children education, healthcare and lifesaving emergency assistance and force families from their homes”, Mr. Guterres detailed. And children in war zones are threatened by “horrific abuses”, he continued, citing examples of sexual violation, abduction, being enlisted as child soldiers or exploited as messengers. “These violations cause lasting…

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Human Rights 

$1.4 billion needed this year to fund UN’s agency for Palestine refugees

Christian Saunders said the funds would provide essential services throughout 2020, including life-saving humanitarian assistance for 5.6 million registered Palestine refugees across the Middle East. He noted that the pledges of support UNRWA received at the General Assembly in December was “an overwhelming validation of the agency and of our mandate” and stressed the importance of donors and partners matching those commitments, to allow the agency to provide refugees with “protection and those critical services considered a basic human right”. He said UNRWA would ensure “that every penny of public…

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Human Rights 

US Middle East peace plan ‘lopsided’, says independent UN rights expert

President Donald Trump announced his administration’s ‘Vision for Peace, Prosperity and a Brighter Future’ at the White House on Tuesday, which would legalize Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel also would be allowed to annex around 30 per cent of the West Bank. In response, the UN underlined its longstanding commitment to realizing a two-State solution, with Israelis and Palestinians “living side by side in peace and security, within recognized borders, on the basis of the pre-1967 lines.”  However, what the US plan offers is “a one and half state solution”, according to Michael Lynk, the UN Special Rapporteur on the…

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Human Rights 

Iraq: Solutions needed ‘urgently’ to quell ongoing violence, break political deadlock

“The continuing loss of young lives and the daily bloodshed is intolerable”, said UN Special Representative Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, lamenting that “at least 467 protesters have been killed and over 9,000 injured since 1 October”. She warned that that the use of force only costs “precious lives” and will not end the crisis.    A recent increase in the use of live ammunition by security forces, shootings by unidentified gunmen at protesters and “the continued targeted killing of demonstrators and human rights defenders, are alarming”, said Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert, who also heads…

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Human Rights 

2019: A deadly year for migrants crossing the Americas

Data from the Missing Migrants Project (MMP), collected at the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Data Analysis Centre in Berlin, indicate that it was the highest number of deaths documented in this region since IOM began keeping records six years ago. Since 2014, more than 3,800 deaths have been recorded across the continent.  “These numbers are a sad reminder that the lack of options for safe and legal mobility pushes people onto more invisible and riskier paths, putting them at greater danger”, said Frank Laczko, Director of IOM’s Data Analysis…

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