This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Human Rights Council launches judicial mechanism into Myanmar abuses against Rohingya
An independent, international mechanism on Myanmar has been set up by member States at the Human Rights Council in Geneva to make it possible to prosecute individuals responsible for grave abuses in the country – in particular, possible genocide crimes against Rohingya Muslims.
The development follows Thursday’s vote on a resolution co-sponsored by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the European Union – a first at the Council.
The resolution – which passed with 35 votes for, 3 against and 7 abstentions – calls for the new mechanism to “consolidate, preserve and analyse evidence of the most serious international crimes and violations of international law committed in Myanmar since 2011”.
This includes a military clearance operation in Rakhine state last year, which led to the mass exodus to Bangladesh of some 700,000 ethnic Rohingya, along with allegations of grave crimes in Kachin and Shan states.
The new mechanism will be expected to prepare files “to facilitate and expedite fair and independent criminal proceedings” by a national, regional or international court, potentially against senior Myanmar military and security officials who were named earlier this year in a UN-appointed probe.
Central African Republic urged to do more to tackle ongoing clashes
To Central African Republic now, where the authorities have been urged at the Human Rights Council to do more to tackle impunity amid ongoing lawlessness and murders.
Speaking at the Council, the UN-appointed expert on the situation of human rights in CAR, Marie-Thérèse Keita-Bocoum highlighted recent clashes between ex-Seleka and anti-Balaka forces in Bria and Ndenga, which left many dead and homes destroyed.
Three Russian journalists have also been killed this summer near Sibut, as well as a civil rights defender and a teacher, Ms. Keita-Bocoum said.
Amid ongoing violence driven by ethnic and religious rivalry dating back to 2013, the rights expert urged armed groups to genuinely engage in the African Union peace initiative launched last year.
She welcomed progress made in setting up a special criminal court in CAR and noted that another criminal tribunal had also heard cases involving murder and sexual violence, for which one woman and five children were the defendants.
Kofi Annan is the future, says youth rights campaigner at celebration of his life
And finally, family, friends and fans of the late Kofi Annan have paid tribute to the former UN Secretary-General at a moving celebration of his life in Geneva.
Some 800 people attended the event at the Palais des Nations, which followed a ceremony in Mr. Annan’s honour at UN Headquarters in New York, and his State funeral in Ghana.
In addition to performances by opera singer and rights campaigner Barbara Hendricks, speakers explained what it was about Mr. Annan that made him so special.
They included former Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey and his long-time friend and head of the UN in Geneva, Michael Møller.
Mr. Annan’s wife, Nane, explained how she watched her husband grow into a global statesman, taking on “ever more daunting tasks”, and all the time building a “sense of trust” that he would “do his utmost to work for a fairer and more peaceful world”.
After stepping down as UN Secretary-General, Mr. Annan remained involved in promoting peace, rights and development through his own foundation.
The final tribute came from Libyan youth rights campaigner Hager Alsharif, founder of the Extremely Together initiative and UN Women Champion:
“Kofi Annan is not the past, he’s the future. His spirit will live on through the countless young people he inspired. As the Kofi Annan Foundation of Young Leaders, it is our mission to transmit the values he stood for to our peers and to the next generations. At the end of the first meeting with us, he said, ‘Please don’t let me down.’ And I’m promising you that we will never let you down.”
Daniel Johnson, UN News.