This is the news in brief from the United Nations.
UN chief announces new expert group for positive digital technology change
A high-profile group of tech experts has been assembled at the request of Secretary-General António Guterres to better reap the benefits of digital technology, while also protecting against unwanted or unexpected negative impacts.
“The scale, spread and speed of change made possible by digital technologies is unprecedented, but the current means and levels of international cooperation are unequal to the challenge,” Mr. Guterres said on Thursday in announcing his High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation.
It will be co-chaired by US philanthropist Melinda Gates and China-based Alibaba founder, Jack Ma.
The initiative comes after approximately a year of consultations involving his team and more than 120 Member States, industry and civil society.
He said that “cooperation across domains and across borders is critical to realizing the full social and economic potential of digital technologies”.
Executive Director and co-chair, Amandeep Gill, said that the UN chief wanted to avoid the “competitive” approach to digital issues that currently impacts on discussions around trade, data and security.
Global migration compact to ‘harness the benefits’ of regular migration
Turning to people on the move, the General Assembly on Friday, is expected to agree on a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration that will be formally adopted in December.
Secretary-General António Guterres told a press on Thursday that this action has “immense potential to help the world harness the benefits of regular migration”, while lowering the risks facing millions on the move without documentation.
“Migrants are a remarkable engine for growth. Migrants number more than 250 million around the world. They make up 3 per cent of global population but contribute 10 per cent of global gross domestic product. Yet more than 60,000 people on the move have died since 2000 – at sea, in the desert and elsewhere. And often, migrants and refugees are demonized and attacked.”
Calling migration “a positive global phenomenon,” Mr. Guterres stated that it needs to be better organized through effective international cooperation among countries of origin, transit and destination, so that people’s movements do not fall into the hands of smugglers.
UN envoy recounts ‘horrific’ testimonies from South Sudanese
Moving on to South Sudan, since the start of the conflict in 2013, widespread and systematic sexual violence has been a pervasive tactic of war and terror, Pramila Patten, UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence and Conflict said, after visiting the war-torn country.
She recounted some of the “horrific” testimonies she heard, including systematic killings, the elderly being burned alive, and women and girls suffering gang rape, “often to death”.
Ms. Patten spoke also to women in protection camps who lamented the lack of food, health services and opportunities to make a living for themselves and their families, describing their main hope as “the desire for peace.”
She noted that although the women walk in groups to collect firewood, hoping to lower the risk of attacks, they need to venture beyond camp where they are frequently assaulted by soldiers.
Highlighting the horrendous conditions they face, one woman told the UN Special Representative that “our men would get killed, whereas we only get raped.”
Liz Scaffidi, UN News.