UN report details violations of right to freedom of expression in South Sudan
Undue restrictions on freedom of expression are having a “chilling effect” in South Sudan and “further shrinking the space for debate and dissent”.
Furthermore, incitement to hatred also continues to cause mistrust, fear and violence in the war-torn country.
That’s the finding of a report launched on Thursday by the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the UN human rights office (OHCHR).
It covers the period from July 2016 to December 2017 and identifies 60 incidents where violations occurred involving 102 victims, 17 of them women.
The incidents included the killing of two people, the arbitrary arrest and detention of 58 others, censorship of newspaper articles and the blocking of websites.
Those targeted were seen to be critical of the Government, tarnishing the country’s reputation, or dealing with issues deemed sensitive, according to the report.
Among the recommendations it proposes are amending legislation to decriminalize defamation, ensuring that violations are promptly investigated and strengthening mechanisms to combat incitement to hatred while also respecting international human rights law.
As UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein observed, the right to freedom of opinion and expression, together with other rights, “are essential to bring about peace and development”.
FAO calls for decent agricultural jobs for Africa’s youth
Creating “decent and attractive” agricultural jobs for African youth is the focus of a UN conference currently under way in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum.
The meeting has been organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) which estimates that up to 12 million new jobs will need to be created every year over the next two decades in order to absorb newcomers to the labour market.
The UN agency said with more people moving to cities, food demands will increase and thus generate employment opportunities in the agricultural sector.
However, FAO believes more action is needed to create “non-agricultural employment” in rural areas, for example in agrotourism.
Latin America and Caribbean praised for refugee protection measures
A commitment by Latin American and Caribbean countries to find solutions to displacement and statelessness has been welcomed by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).
It was among the outcomes of a two-day meeting held this week in Brazil which brought together representatives of Governments and civil society from across the region.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi described their pledge as “a powerful global example for refugee protection”.
He praised regional initiatives such as resettlement programmes and humanitarian visas for Syrian nationals and the creation of an intraregional mechanism for transferring refugees in the Caribbean.
Mr. Grandi also encouraged countries to keep their borders open to refugees, noting that the number of asylum seekers is growing in the region.
The meeting concluded with the adoption of a text known as the “100 points of Brasilia”, which will feed into the Global Compact on Refugees to be proposed at the UN General Assembly in September.