UN rights chief repeats call for ICC to take up Syria
The UN Human Rights High Commissioner has again appealed for the Syrian conflict to be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which prosecutes cases of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein repeated the call while presenting his annual report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday; the second time he has made the appeal in less than a week.
The Syrian conflict began in March 2011 and the UN rights chief said it has “entered a new phase of horror”.
“This month, it is eastern Ghouta which is, in the words of the Secretary-General, hell on earth; next month or the month after, it will be somewhere else where people face an apocalypse — an apocalypse intended, planned and executed by individuals within the Government, apparently with the full backing of some of their foreign supporters. It is urgent to reverse this catastrophic course, and to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court.”
Zeid’s report covered human rights concerns from every corner of the globe, including in Yemen, Libya, Myanmar and Iraq.
But he also highlighted advances in places such as Saudi Arabia, where women can now have access to government services without prior approval from male guardians, and the Gambia, which last month announced a moratorium on the death penalty.
Transform food systems in Latin America and Caribbean to fight obesity: FAO
The head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is calling for a “radical transformation” of food systems in Latin America and the Caribbean to combat overweight and obesity.
FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva issued the charge in his opening address to the agency’s three-day regional conference under way in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
He urged representatives from 33 countries to keep the fight against hunger at the top of their policy agendas.
However, he said “eradicating hunger must not be our only concern”, noting that 7 per cent of the region’s under-5s are overweight, while 20 per cent of adults in 24 countries there are obese.
Mr. Graziano da Silva called for the creation of “really sustainable” food systems in which production, trade, transport and consumption combine to guarantee good nutrition, adding that it is “fundamental” to eat fresh, locally grown produce as opposed to highly processed foods.
He said excessive weight gain and obesity constitute a “global epidemic” which is spreading to both developed and developing countries.
UN gender parity key to creating fully equal world
Achieving gender parity in the UN will help the global organization contribute to a more equal world.
That’s according to Secretary-General António Guterres in a video message for International Women’s Day, celebrated annually on 8 March.
Mr. Guterres said this is a male-dominated world with a male-dominated culture, which is also true at the UN.
He has made gender parity a top objective since taking office in January 2017.
Last month, the Organization achieved parity at the senior management level: the first time in its more than 70 years of existence.
“But our aim is to have parity across the board in the whole of the United Nations and this will be a key instrument for us to be able to fight sexual exploitation and abuse with zero tolerance, to fight sexual harassment and to make sure that we create an organization in which women and men can work together in full equality and contribute to a world in which women and men can also be in full equality.”