This is the news in brief from the United Nations
Jailed journalists in Myanmar must be freed ‘immediately’, says UN right chief Bachelet
A Myanmar court’s decision to jail two news agency journalists must be reversed, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet has announced.
The appeal by the newly appointed UN High Commissioner for Human Rights comes after the sentencing of Reuters reporters Kyaw Soe Oo and Thet Oo Maung.
They were given seven-year jail terms after being found to have violated the country’s Official Secrets Act, after covering a massacre of ethnic Rohingya.
The military subsequently admitted responsibility to the Inn Dinn killings, the rights chief said in a statement, saying that their conviction “clearly breached international standards”.
Mediterranean crossings deadlier than ever, new UNHCR report shows
The number of people who cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe in search of refuge may have fallen, but the number who die trying to do so has risen sharply, the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, said on Monday.
Latest data from the agency indicates that 1,600 people have died or gone missing so far this year on the sea journey.
There have also been 10 incidents in which 50 or more people died, most after departing from Libya; seven of these incidents have happened since June.
The Central Mediterranean route from North Africa to Italy is the most dangerous route, according to the UNHCR report.
It accounts for one death for every 18 people who reached Europe between January and July this year – compared to one in 42 over the same period in 2017.
The findings show that the Mediterranean is “one of the world’s deadliest sea crossings”, UNHCR’s Director of the Bureau for Europe, Pascale Moreau, said.
UNHCR and partner UN agency IOM are calling for a predictable, regional approach for the rescue and disembarkation of people in distress in the Mediterranean Sea.
Europe should increase resettlement places for refugees, UNHCR believes, and remove obstacles to family reunification.
Facebook’s definition of terrorism potentially “discriminatory“: UN human rights expert
The broad definition of terrorism used by Facebook could lead to the discrimination and censorship of people trying to access and use its platform, an UN appointed rights expert said on Monday.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism is Fionnuala Ní Aoláin.
In a letter to Facebook, she highlighted the company’s stance that all non-state armed groups could potentially be classified as terrorists - even if they comply with international humanitarian law.
“The use of such a sweeping definition is particularly worrying in light of a number of governments seeking to stigmatize dissent and opposition”, whether it is peaceful or violent, the rights expert said.
Facebook, which is used by over two billion people, prohibits anyone defined as a terrorist from using its services.
In a bid to stop the spread of hate speech, the company uses detection technology, moderators and a team of 200 counter-terrorism specialists to find and remove content from its platform.
Tsunami tests to go ahead in 24 Indian Ocean nations
Finally, tens of thousands of people across 24 Indian Ocean nations are preparing to take part in a vast tsunami evacuation exercise.
Two tests are planned; the first one on Tuesday will simulate a magnitude nine earthquake off the southern coast of Iran.
The second test on the fifth of September will simulate an even bigger seismic event, this time off the coast of Northern Sumatra, Indonesia.
According to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, several Indian Ocean countries plan to evacuate coastal areas including India, Oman, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.
Indian Ocean nations called for an Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System after the 2004 tsunami disaster, which killed well over 200,000 people.
Around 80,000 people are expected to take part in Exercise Indian Ocean Wave 2018 (IOWave18), which aims to test how prepared countries are at a community level – and make changes as necessary.
Michelle Kusuma, UN News