This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Myanmar: UN experts gravely concerned by court charges against Reuters journalists
The decision by a Myanmar court to charge two journalists investigating an alleged massacre in the troubled Rakhine state has been condemned by two UN rights experts, who on Wednesday, called for their immediate release.
Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo have been charged under the country’s 1923 Official Secrets Act, whose maximum penalty is 14 years in jail.
Arrested in December, they were charged on Monday with obtaining secret State documents after investigating the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslims from the village of Inn Dinn last September.
According to the news agency, at least two of the victims were hacked to death by their Buddhist neighbours; the rest were shot by Myanmar troops, amid widespread violence in the Rakhine state that has forced more than 700,000 Rohingya from their homes.
Appealing to the Myanmar authorities for the “immediate and unconditional release” of the detainees, Special Rapporteurs Yanghee Lee and David Kaye call for all charges to be dropped against them.
“The prosecution criminalizes investigative journalism reporting on human rights violations in the Rakhine state, issues of the highest public interest,” their statement reads.
World Population Day: ‘A matter of human rights’ says UN
Each 11 July, World Population Day, the world focuses its attention on the urgency and importance of population issues.
The Day was inspired by public interest generated on 11 July, 1987 when the UN estimated that that day, the world's population reached five billion people.
As this year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1968 International Conference on Human Rights, where family planning was, for the first time, globally affirmed to be a human right, it has become the 2018 theme.
But, the UN Population Fund’s Executive Director Natalia Kanem took it a step further, saying: “Family planning is not only a matter of human rights; it is also central to women’s empowerment, reducing poverty and achieving sustainable development.”
To uphold this human right, among other things, family planning information must be nondiscriminatory and good services accessible and scientifically accurate.
UNFPA supports family planning in developing countries by ensuring a reliable supply of a full range of modern contraceptives, strengthening national health systems and promoting gender equality.
Climate change proceeds at a ‘relentless pace,’ UN deputy chief tells Security Council
Turning to climate change, the issue has become so pervasive that Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed addressed the Security Council on it Wednesday.
She raised four key issues, beginning with the risks that climate change poses to our common security. She also mentioned the impacts of climate change and the actions being taken by the UN system to tackle them. And finally, Ms. Mohammed spoke about what is needed to ensure that climate concerns remain closely linked to security considerations.
“It is clear that climate change is a real threat and it is proceeding at a relentless pace. While the impact of climate change may be spread unevenly across different regions today, no country will be spared from its consequences in the long-term. We must act together, with a joint vision and a commitment to multilateral cooperation. This is our only chance at finding effective and sustainable solutions to this challenge.”
Ms. Mohammed drew a correlation between climate change and “the most pressing security challenges of our time,” saying that the countries that are most defenseless against climatic changes are often those most vulnerable to conflict and fragility.
But the impact of climate change on security can take many different shapes, including food insecurity, the loss of livelihoods and risks to natural resources. Many of these become visible only over time.
The deputy UN chief concluded by saying that today’s climate challenge is very clear.
Liz Scaffidi, UN News