Human Rights 

Belarus crisis under the spotlight at Human Rights Council

At the end of a memorable day of back-and-forth discussions between the Council President and delegations – featuring more than a dozen points of order by delegations who questioned the right of some of those addressing the Council to speak and no less than 17 amendments to a European-Union sponsored call for action – the Geneva-based forum finally adopted a resolution on the deteriorating rights situation in Belarus. It passed by 23 votes for, two against and with 22 abstentions. Delivering a statement for UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, Ms.…

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Human Rights 

UN rights chief calls for Turkey to probe violations in northern Syria

Michelle Bachelet warned that the human rights situation in places such as Afrin, Ras al-Ain and Tel Abyad, is grim, with violence and criminality rife.    An alarming pattern of grave violations has been documented in these areas in recent months, such as increased killings, kidnappings, and unlawful transfers of people, as well as seizures of land and properties, her Office, OHCHR, has reported.  Victims include those perceived to be allied with opposing parties, or critical of Turkish-affiliated armed groups, or rich enough to pay ransoms.   “People living in these…

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Human Rights 

Venezuela abuses amounted to crimes against humanity: UN-appointed panel

In their findings published on Wednesday, the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Venezuela cited evidence of unlawful executions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions and torture in the country since 2014. Senior military and ministerial figures were likely aware of the crimes, said the investigators, who were appointed by the Human Rights Council in Geneva in September last year. Orders given “They gave orders, coordinated activities and supplied resources in furtherance of the plans and policies under which the crimes were committed,” the report stated. President Nicolas Maduro also likely “side-tracked the chain of…

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Human Rights 

Governments urged to protect poor against modern slavery, step up development financing

The warning comes from UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, Tomoya Obokata, who presented his first report to a virtual session of the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday.  “Historical levels of underemployment or unemployment, loss of livelihoods and uncertain economic perspectives are some of the complex consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic which have hit the most vulnerable hardest”, he told members.  “Combined with weak safety nets and a dismantling of labour rights and social protection regulations in some countries, there is an acute risk that the poorest…

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Human Rights 

Syria: Bombshell report reveals ‘no clean hands’ as horrific rights violations continue 

The Commission’s 25-page report documented continuing violations by nearly every fighting force controlling territory across the country. It also highlighted an increase in patterns of targeted abuse, such as assassinations, sexual and gender-based violence, and looting or appropriation of private property.   3/7 COI Chair Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro: suffering is compounded by the deepening economic crisis, tightening sanctions and the #COVID-19 pandemic. Calls on Gov of Syria and armed groups to cease #torture, including #SGBV, and release all arbitrarily detained prisoners pic.twitter.com/CD9bLTGNR4 — UN Syria Commission (@UNCoISyria) September 15, 2020 And…

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Human Rights 

UN urges a more equal, inclusive world, marking International Day of Democracy

Against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, UN Secretary-General António Guterres underlined the importance of democracy for ensuring free flow of information, participation in decision-making and accountability for the response to COVID-19.  Well before #COVID19, frustration was rising & trust in public authorities was declining. Governments must do more to listen to people demanding change. On this #DemocracyDay, let’s seize this moment to build a more equal & inclusive world, with full respect for human rights. pic.twitter.com/slLcYefHep — António Guterres (@antonioguterres) September 15, 2020 “Yet since the beginning of the…

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Human Rights 

Iran: ‘Secret execution’ of champion wrestler ‘deeply disturbing’ – UN rights experts

The Special Rapporteurs raised the alarm on Monday that Navid Afkari’s execution marks the latest in a series of death penalty sentences handed down in relation to protests in 2018 and 2019. “Such flagrant disregard for the right to life through summary executions is not only a matter of domestic concern”, they said in a statement. “We call on the international community to react strongly to these actions by the Islamic Republic of Iran”. A ‘deeply disturbing’ warning  The rights experts pointed out that Mr. Afkari’s execution was the second…

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Human Rights 

Rise to the occasion to tackle injustice, Bachelet urges Human Rights Council

Addressing the Council on the opening day of the session, Ms. Bachelet also appealed for global solidarity to confront COVID-19, just as the World Health Organization (WHO) announced more than half a million new cases of coronavirus infection, including more than 307,000 on Saturday alone, a record daily figure. No country spared pandemic “The world has rarely experienced a simultaneous, global shock as complex as COVID-19,” she said. “No country has been spared, yet the pandemic’s medical, social and economic consequences vary widely. I am convinced that for countries across…

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Human Rights 

Journalism under fire: UNESCO raises alarm over surge of attacks on media workers covering protests

In its new report, Safety of Journalists Covering Protests – Preserving Freedom of the Press During Times of Civil Unrest, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural agency (UNESCO) said that between January and June this year, journalists have been increasingly attacked, arrested and even killed. Launching the report, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay underscored that the freedom to inform citizens on the causes of unrest and the response from State authorities, are of vital importance for democracies to thrive. “Journalists have a critical role in reporting and informing audiences on protest…

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Human Rights 

Journalism under fire: UNESCO raises alarm over surge of attacks on media workers covering protests

In its new report, Safety of Journalists Covering Protests – Preserving Freedom of the Press During Times of Civil Unrest, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural agency (UNESCO) said that between January and June this year, journalists have been increasingly attacked, arrested and even killed. Launching the report, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay underscored that the freedom to inform citizens on the causes of unrest and the response from State authorities, are of vital importance for democracies to thrive. “Journalists have a critical role in reporting and informing audiences on protest…

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