This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Women seen as ‘spoils’ of conflict in South Sudan
The plight of South Sudan’s women and girls “should no longer be ignored”, UN investigators told the UN Human Rights Council on Monday, citing the disturbing testimonies of sexual abuse victims who have been treated by soldiers and militias as the “spoils” of more than five years of conflict.
“The Commission once again heard testimonies of wanton killings and numerous accounts of brutal sexual violence,” said Yasmin Sooka, Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan.
She explained that Government soldiers and armed parties treated women in South Sudan as spoils of war and that they also experience sexual violence during intercommunal fighting between rival ethnic groups, clashing over land and cattle.
These women lived with the constant threat of sexual violence fueled by a lack of accountability and justice for these crimes, she said.
Arbitrary detentions and torture had also increased and, despite authorities’ commitments to address sexual violence, little had been done.
For its part, South Sudan cited last week’s Revitalized Peace Agreement, informing the Council that security situation would improve.
FAO report links agricultural trade, climate change and food security
The latest flagship report of the Food and Agriculture Organization, known as FAO, focuses on the links between agricultural trade, climate change and food security.
Monday’s Agricultural Commodity Markets report points out that by the middle of this century, several factors, including higher temperatures, precipitation changes, rising sea levels and extreme weather events, will significantly impact farming and food supplies across the world.
Moreover, climate change will affect different places in different ways, with arid and semi-arid regions being exposed to ever-lower rainfall and higher temperatures, which will lead to crop losses.
Countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America will be hit the most, many of which already suffer from poverty, food shortages and malnutrition.
FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva spelled out in the report that “unless we take urgent action to combat climate change, we can expect to see a very different global picture of agriculture in the future”.
UN experts ask Rights Council for response to ‘appalling’ verdicts against protesters in Egypt
UN independent experts called on the Human Rights Council Monday to urgently respond to verdicts in Egypt condemning 75 protesters to death and 47 to life sentences.
Earlier this month, a Cairo Criminal Court confirmed the sentences delivered at a mass trial in July, convicting 739 people on charges of gathering illegally, involvement in violence and incitement to break the law.
The rights of those accused to present evidence in their defence were not guaranteed as required by the principles of fair trial, say the experts.
Moreover, the heavy prison sentences adopted in this case were also grossly disproportionate, and may amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.
The special rapporteurs on human rights defenders called “as a matter of priority” for the international community to act to ensure international human rights standards be applied and that violations committed by State officials, don’t go unpunished.
Liz Scaffidi, UN News.