This is the News In Brief from the United Nations
Calls for probe into disappeared Saudi journalist
The “apparent enforced disappearance” of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi who was last seen reportedly visiting his country’s consulate in Istanbul a week ago requires a full investigation involving both Turkey and Saudi Arabia, the UN human rights office, OHCHR, said on Tuesday.
Spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani noted that the development followed “several cases” in Saudi Arabia recently where human rights defenders and journalists have been detained.
“This is of serious concern, this apparent and enforced disappearance of Mr Khashoggi from the consulate of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul. If reports of his death and the extraordinary circumstances leading up to it are confirmed, this is truly shocking. We call for cooperation between Turkey and Saudi Arabia to conduct a prompt, impartial and independent investigation into the circumstances of Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance and to make the findings public.
In related news, UNESCO has condemned the murder of Bulgarian journalist Victoria Marinova, whose body was found bearing signs of torture and sexual abuse three days ago.
In a statement, Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, said that the attack on the 30-year-old TV presenter was an “outrage against the dignity and basic human rights of every woman”.
Of seven journalists killed in Europe last year, four were women, according to the UN agency.
Colombian nationals held in ‘beyond monstrous’ conditions in Venezuela
To Venezuela now, where prison conditions are “beyond monstrous”, the UN human rights office, OHCHR, said on Tuesday, before calling for an investigation into the death of leading political opponent Fernando Alban .
Issuing the alert in Geneva, OHCHR said that there were specific concerns for 59 Colombian nationals who’ve been held for more than two years without being charged.
They were picked up in a security operation in 2016 and are now in a single cell at a facility in the country’s capital, Caracas.
Many of them are believed to be sick, OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said:
“The 59 were accused of being Colombian paramilitaries but to date, no evidence or charges have been brought against them. And in November 2017, a Venezuelan judge had ruled that they should be unconditionally released. However, they remain in detention.”
Regarding Mr Alban, a critic of the government whose death was announced on Monday at the headquarters of the country’s intelligence services, Ms Shamdasani confirmed the need to clarify reports that he had jumped to his death from the 10th floor.
The deteriorating human rights situation in Venezuela was the subject of a recent UN report.
It highlighted what it called the accelerating erosion of the rule of law amid unprecedented mass demonstrations and the excessive use of force in security operations.
Rohingya women change refugee camp life for the better
And finally to Bangladesh’s refugee camps, where women who fled ethnic violence in neighbouring Myanmar last year have been speaking up for their rights – a role usually reserved for men.
With the help of UN Migration Agency IOM, more than 100 Rohingya women have formed a new committee to address current problems; everything from the lack of street lighting and toilets that offer too little privacy.
Most Rohingya women do not read or write and many rely on their male relatives to raise their concerns, according to IOM.
This trial initiative ensures that women’s opinions, needs and participation is meaningful, said spokesperson Consuelo Tangara.
Daniel Johnson, UN News