This is the news in brief from the United Nations.
Challenges still abound, 30th years on from landmark child rights treaty
Some Member States are still falling short on offering a better future to children who continue to die prematurely and fall victim to poverty, trafficking and slavery, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet said on Monday.
In her opening address to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva, the High Commissioner noted that 2019 marked the 30th anniversary of what she called “the most widely ratified human rights treaty” of all.
Despite almost universal recognition and strides made in many countries, including laws to protect youngsters in “virtually every State party”, Ms Bachelet insisted that “not all States parties ensure, to the maximum extent, the survival and development of all children everywhere”.
She painted a grim picture for those children particularly vulnerable to trafficking and slavery.
"Millions of girls become mothers while they are still children, damaging their health and entrenching a cycle of poverty. Millions of children are traumatised and harmed by armed conflict. And it is impossible to accurately estimate just how many boys and girls are forcibly recruited by armed groups as fighters or, in effect, as slaves. In 2016 alone, UN monitors verified more than 20,000 such victims – but the full number is clearly far higher."
The disaster that rocked Haiti nine years ago
Sunday marked the ninth anniversary of the Haiti earthquake that killed some 220,000 people and displaced one million more.
The tragedy also took the lives of 102 UN mission staff there, including the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Hédi Annabi and his deputy, Luiz Carlos da Costa.
Marking the anniversary, UN survivor, Sophie Boutaud de la Combe, told UN News that she was in a meeting when the earthquake hit.
Seven and half months pregnant at the time, the then-spokesperson dove under a table until the shaking stopped. When she managed to exit the building through a collapsed wall, she discovered that all six floors had caved in.
"I asked everyone, and security especially, to make sure they close the gate so we would have everybody accounted for because people were running around everywhere. And we need to know how many people are still in the building blocked under the rubbles and who is outside and to organize ourselves."
UN experts plead for life of mentally-ill former police officer
In Pakistan, UN human rights experts have urged the authorities not to execute former police officer Khizar Hayat, who suffers from a serious mental health condition.
“The imposition of capital punishment on individuals with psychosocial disabilities is a clear violation of Pakistan’s international obligations,” the experts stressed on Sunday.
Sentenced to death in 2003 for the alleged murder of a fellow officer, the experts pointed out that during his trial, no evidence or witnesses were called in his defence, nor were any questions asked about his mental health.
He was later diagnosed with a mental health condition for which he has been receiving treatment for the past decade.
“Implementing the death penalty under these conditions is unlawful and tantamount to an arbitrary execution, as well as a form of cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment”, underscored the Experts.
According to news reports, on Monday Mr. Hayat was granted a stay of execution and his case has been sent for further judicial review
Liz Scaffidi, UN News.