This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Global migration pact adopted in Morocco
In an historic move described by UN Chief António Guterres as a “roadmap to prevent suffering and chaos,” the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was adopted on Monday by more than 150 Governments at an international conference in Marrakesh, Morocco.
Speaking at the opening intergovernmental session, Mr. Guterres, said that the Compact provides a platform for “humane, sensible, mutually beneficial action” resting on two “simple ideas.”
Acknowledging that some States neither took part in the conference, nor adopted the Compact, the UN Chief expressed his hope that they would come to recognize its value for their societies to join in “this common venture.”
Along with Climate Change, unregulated migration has become a pressing issue in recent years. Every year, thousands of migrants lose their lives or go missing on perilous routes, often fallen victim at the hands of smugglers and other predators.
Afghanistan commemorates Human Rights Day
Each year on 10 December the world marks Human Rights Day. On Monday, the Day took on special meaning as it coincided with the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, one of the key documents adopted in the first few years of the UN General Assembly.
In the Afghan capital, Kabul, the UN mission known as UNAMA welcomed Government efforts to extend human rights to all, despite on-going conflict, including the work of Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission; a new Penal Code; and the employment of women in the civil service and the private sector.
Acknowledging these achievements and offering the mission’s continued steadfast commitment, UNAMA head Tadamichi Yamamoto pointed to some of Afghanistan’s remaining challenges, particularly from ongoing armed conflict that continues to cause “persistent high numbers of civilian casualties.”
World loses ‘an intrepid defender’ of human rights
In keeping with the theme, Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, paid tribute to Lyudmila Mikhaylovna Alexeyeva, calling her one of the “greatest human rights defenders” ever.
Ms. Bachelet recalled that the activist, who died on Saturday in Moscow aged 91, was awarded the prestigious Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 2009.
Ms. Alexeyeva was a Russian historian, leading human rights activist and founding member of the Moscow Helisinki Group.
According to news reports, Ms. Alexeyeva continued to be outspoken in her later years, criticizing Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, saying it brought "shame on my country" and, also denounced what she called the "awful political killing" of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.
“She was an intrepid defender of the rights of vulnerable people in Russia and beyond”, and “her life and work inspired generations of human rights defenders around the globe,” said the UN rights chief.
Liz Scaffidi, UN News.