Human Rights 

With 280 prisoners dead in Ecuador, UN experts call for urgent action 

In a joint statement, the experts said they were “appalled and gravely concerned” by repeated riots that have resulted in the death of so many prisoners, and the “clear risk” of further incidents.  The statement was signed by Morris Tidball-Binz, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, and Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.  Ongoing insecurity  During the most recent outbreak of violence, on 12 November, at least 62 inmates were killed and 44 were injured at the Centre of Deprivation of Liberty Guayas Nr. 1 (El Litoral Penitentiary)…

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Human Rights 

First Person: ‘Trafficking is a crime can happen in front of our eyes’

This feature has been edited for clarity and length. Mr. Chatzis was talking to Melissa Fleming, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications. You can hear the full interview on the UN podcast, Awake at Night. “Human trafficking and migrant smuggling have evolved a lot since I first took over this job. They have become more severe, in the sense of what the criminals involved inflict on people. There is more violence, victims are younger and there are more child victims. It is a crime that can sometimes happen in…

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Human Rights 

UN chief: COVID-19 laid bare barriers faced by 1 billion people with disabilities 

“COVID-19 has laid bare the persistent barriers and inequalities faced by the world’s one billion persons with disabilities”, he said.  Now, Mr. Guterres argued, a disability-inclusive pandemic response and recovery should be guided by persons with disabilities themselves.   It should also “forge partnerships, tackle injustice and discrimination, expand access to technology and strengthen institutions to create a more inclusive, accessible, and sustainable post-COVID-19 world.”  Human Rights  According to the UN, about 80 per cent of persons with disabilities live in developing countries. An estimated 46 per cent of people aged 60 years and over, have disabilities.  One in every five women is likely to…

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Human Rights 

COP26: Convert climate ‘promises to action’, urge UN rights experts

More than three dozen UN experts endorsed a statement calling for greater transparency and rigorous follow up on the commitments made in Glasgow last month, such as the 100-strong pledge to end deforestation by 2030; cut emissions of methane by 30 per cent by the end of this decade; and establish a ratchet system requiring States to strengthen their commitments on a yearly basis. “The world’s largest and wealthiest economies however, failed to make sufficiently strong commitments to keep planetary warming to 1.5°C”, the experts reminded, adding that “the Conference…

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Human Rights 

Disabled and displaced: helping Haiti’s most vulnerable people

Samuel believes that being visually impaired in Haiti is a punishment. After being fired from his job because of his disability, he found it impossible to find work. “It has been extremely challenging to feed my family, let alone pay for my children’s tuition,” the father of two says. Visually impaired for more than a decade, 48-year-old Samuel spent most of this time in Camp La Piste, in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. The site for internally displaced people had been home to people with all forms of disabilities since…

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Human Rights 

Women and girls at high risk of being pushed into modern slavery  

In an alert to coincide with the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery on 2 December, they warned that global challenges such as COVID-19, climate change and armed conflict have amplified existing vulnerabilities.   According to figures released by UNICEF and ILO in June, almost 80 million children aged 5 to 17, are subjected to hazardous work which is classified as a contemporary form of slavery.  Now, according to the experts, these children may be working longer hours or under worsening conditions as a result of the economic recession and school closures caused by the pandemic.    Many others may have been forced into the worst forms of child labour,…

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Human Rights 

UN chief: Global vaccination plan is ‘only way out’ of the pandemic 

António Guterres was speaking at a meeting in New York of Foreign Ministers of the Group of 77 developing nations (G77) and China, where he noted that the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on developed and developing countries alike.   He said that the UN stands behind the vaccination strategy set out by the World Health Organization (WHO), with the goal of getting vaccines into the arms of 40 per cent of people in all countries by the end of this year, and 70 per cent by the middle of 2022.   “Everyone, everywhere, must have access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatment”, the Secretary-General said, asking for…

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Human Rights 

Mexico: Over 95,000 registered as disappeared, impunity ‘almost absolute’

Those are some of the key findings shared by the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances, at the end of a visit between 15 and 26 November, noting that more than 100 disappearances allegedly took place just during the course of their fact-finding mission.   In a statement, the Committee urged Mexican authorities to quickly locate those who have gone missing, identify the deceased and take prompt action to investigate all cases.  Family members of the young disappeared in Ayotzinapa., by UNIC Mexico/Antonio Nieto Open access  The delegation went to 13 Mexican states and held 48 meetings with more than 80 different authorities. Members also…

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Human Rights 

Violations of Palestinian rights puts two-State solution at risk UN chief warns 

In a message to mark International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The UN chief warned that persistent violations of the rights of Palestinians, along with the expansion of Israeli settlements, risk eroding the prospect of a two-State solution.  Despite being ‘encouraged’ by recent engagements between senior Israeli and Palestinian officials, the UN chief said that “containing the situation is not sufficient”.  The situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory remains a challenge to int’l peace & security. On #PalestineDay, let’s reaffirm commitment to the Palestinian people in their quest to achieve their rights & build a future…

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Human Rights 

Digital Child’s Play: protecting children from the impacts of AI

Children are already interacting with AI technologies in many different ways: they are embedded in toys, virtual assistants, video games, and adaptive learning software. Their impact on children’s lives is profound, yet UNICEF found that, when it comes to AI policies and practices, children’s rights are an afterthought, at best. In response, the UN children’s agency has developed draft Policy Guidance on AI for Children to promote children’s rights, and raise awareness of how AI systems can uphold or undermine these rights. Conor Lennon from UN News asked Jasmina Byrne,…

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