Venezuela urged to promptly investigate deadly jail fire
The UN human rights office is urging authorities in Venezuela to conduct a “prompt, thorough and effective investigation” into a deadly fire at a police station jail which killed at least 68 people.
The blaze occurred on Wednesday in the city of Valencia, amid reported clashes between detainees and the security forces.
The UN human rights office issued a statement on Thursday calling for an investigation into the cause of the deaths and, where applicable, to identify and bring those responsible to justice.
The office was also concerned at reports that security forces used tear gas to disperse relatives who had gathered in front of the police station to demand information about their loved ones.
The statement noted that there is widespread overcrowding and dire conditions in Venezuela’s prisons, as well as in police jails, which are often used as permanent detention centres.
“These conditions, which often give rise to violence and riots, are exacerbated by judicial delays and the excessive use of pretrial detention,” the statement said.
UNESCO condemns killing of three Indian journalists in 24-hour period
The killing of three Indian journalists within a 24-hour period has been condemned by the head of the UN cultural agency, UNESCO.
The journalists — all men — were struck down by vehicles in two separate incidents earlier this week.
Naveen Nischal, who worked for a Hindi language daily called Dainik Bhaskar, and freelance reporter Vijay Singh, were killed in Bihar state in eastern India on Sunday.
The third journalist, an investigative reporter called Sandeep Sharma, was killed in the central state of Madhya Pradesh on Monday.
He had recently worked on stories about illegal sand mining.
In a statement issued on Thursday condemning their deaths, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay underlined that members of the public rely on journalists to provide them with information so that they can make informed decisions.
She added that “an independent, pluralistic and free press is a cornerstone of democracy”.
Women and girls in the spotlight on World Autism Awareness Day
The UN Secretary-General is calling for more commitment to supporting the rights of people with autism, a lifelong neurological condition which manifests through a range of different disabilities.
António Guterres made the appeal ahead of World Autism Awareness Day, observed on Monday, 2 April.
This year, the focus is on empowering women and girls with autism who face “multiple challenges”, according to the UN chief.
These include barriers to accessing education and jobs, as well as denial of their reproductive rights and the freedom to make their own decisions.
The Secretary-General stated that global efforts on gender equality and women’s empowerment “must reach all the world’s women and girls”.