Archive for December 23rd, 2020

23/12/2020

UN Independent Human Rights Expert Asks Outgoing US President: Pardon Wikileaks’ Assange

Human Wrongs Watch

(UN News)* — In an open letter to Donald Trump on Tuesday [22 December 2020], an independent UN human rights expert asked the departing United States President to pardon Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. 

Unsplash/Ashley Ross | Julian Assange is being held in high security Belmarsh Prison in southeast London (not pictured).

“Mr. Assange has been arbitrarily deprived of his liberty for the past ten years”,  wrote Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. “This is a high price to pay for the courage to publish true information about government misconduct throughout the world”.

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23/12/2020

COVID-19 Hits Trade in Asia-Pacific, But Impact ‘Less Bad’ than Elsewhere

Human Wrongs Watch

(UN News)* — Despite a sharp fall in global trade in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and lingering trade tensions, Asia and the Pacific is expected to perform relatively less badly than the rest of the world, the United Nations development arm in the region said on Tuesday [22 December 2020].

IMO | A container ship unloads its cargo at a port.

Worldwide trade is expected to fall by 14.5 per cent in 2020 and following that trend, trade in the region could contract by  around 1.9 per cent, estimates from the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) suggest.

The rest of the world, however, fared worse, and as a result, the region’s share in global merchandise export and import is expected to rise to an all-time high in 2020, to 41.8 per cent and 38.2 per cent respectively, up from 39.9 per cent and 36.9 per cent a year earlier.

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23/12/2020

The World in 2021

Human Wrongs Watch

NEW YORK, Dec 22 2020 (IPS)* – The year 2020 is ending with the world caught up in an unprecedented human and economic crisis. The pandemic has contaminated 75 million people and killed 1.7 million. With the lockdowns, the global economy has suffered the worst recession in 75 years, causing the loss of income for millions of people. In such a bleak environment, what will the new year bring? Whilst uncertainty is the only certainty, eight points are likely to be key in the year ahead:

Isabel-Ortiz_

Isabel Ortiz

1. A gradual but uneven recovery
With the deployment of vaccines and public support, high-income countries will be on the path to recovery from the second half of 2021.

However, middle income and particularly low income countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America will see recovery delayed – unless the UN or China provide them with sufficient COVID19 vaccines and governments escalate public support.

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23/12/2020

What Families in Ethiopia with Missing and Disappeared Migrants Want You to Know: Long-lasting Impacts and Search

(IOM)* — Faced with the lack of options for safe and legal migration opportunities, thousands of Ethiopians leave the country every year using irregular channels to reach destinations in Northern Africa and Europe, the Gulf States and Southern Africa. These journeys are often risky, with thousands of Ethiopians believed to have died or gone missing, whether due to violence, vehicle accidents, shipwrecks or lack of access to medicine, shelter and food along the way. 

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23/12/2020

Ethiopia’s Tigray Region: Hundreds of Civilians Reported Killed in Artillery Strikes, Warns UN Human Rights Chief  

Human Wrongs Watch

(UN News)* — Reports of artillery strikes on civilians and mass killings of non-combatants in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, must be investigated and full access granted to independent investigators, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet said on Tuesday [22 December 2020].

© UNHCR/Will Swanson | An Ethiopian refugee from Tigray awaits transfer from a border reception centre in Sudan.
The appeal by the High Commissioner for Human Rights follows seven weeks of conflict in northern Ethiopia between central Government soldiers and Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) forces that has displaced tens of thousands.
23/12/2020

Mozambique: 250,000 Displaced Children Facing Deadly Disease Threat 

Human Wrongs Watch

22 December 2020 (UN News)*A lack of safe water, sanitation and hygiene services have put approximately 250,000 children, displaced by escalating crises in a northern province of Mozambique, at risk from deadly diseases, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned.

UNICEF/Mauricio Bisol | The parents of this 10-year old girl at Metuge refugee camp in Cabo Delgado were killed by insurgents.
“In less than two years, children and families in Cabo Delgado have faced a devastating cyclone, flooding, drought, socioeconomic hardship linked to the COVID-19 pandemic and conflict”, said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore, on Monday [21 December 2020].

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23/12/2020

The Night Arafat, Facing Death Threats, Slept in the UN Chief’s Office

Human Wrongs Watch

UNITED NATIONS, Dec 22 2020 (IPS)* – The United Nations, which is commemorating its 75th anniversary, continues to remain bogged down in one of the world’s most politically and militarily volatile regions: the Middle East.

Leader-of-the-Palestine_The Leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Yasser Arafat, arrived at UN Headquarters by helicopter. A view of the helicopter as it approached the North Lawn of the UN campus on 13 November 1974. But Arafat was denied a US visa for a second visit to the UN in 1988. Credit: UN Photo/Michos Tzovaras

Virtually every other week, the Security Council has a predictable item on its agenda: “consultations on the Middle East”—perhaps a never-ending saga.

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