This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
UN rights team officially invited to Venezuela, paves way for High Commissioner
A United Nations human rights team is to begin an official visit to Venezuela on Monday at the invitation of the Government, potentially paving the way for a mission by the UN’s top rights official, Michelle Bachelet.
Five members of staff are to tour the country from 11 to 22 March, her office, OHCHR, said on Friday, amid a grave socio-economic crisis and violent anti-Government demonstrations.
The announcement follows an initial invitation last November from President Nicolas Maduro to Ms. Bachelet, which was reiterated by Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza at the current Human Rights Council session in Geneva.
UNHCR opens reception centre in Colombia for vulnerable Venezuelans
In related news, the UN refugee agency announced on Friday that it has opened a reception centre in Colombia for the most vulnerable Venezuelans in need of protection.
Five thousand Venezuelans are leaving the country every day, on average, and UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic said that “a significant number” live on the streets in neighbouring Colombia.
He told journalists that the facility in the border city of Maicao in La Guajira region has space for 350 people, but could expand in future:
“It’s a reception centre which will basically serve to provide immediate support to the most vulnerable categories of those who might be crossing. That may involve unaccompanied children, children who may have been separated from their families, vulnerable women, people who have disabilities, and so on.”
Colombia hosts more than one million Venezuelans and UNHCR says that despite the authorities’ generosity, reception capacity has been “overwhelmed”.
This year, the UN agency is appealing for more than $730 million to help more than nearly three million Venezuelans and host communities in 16 countries.
We need to break down stereotypes, star of Oscar-winning movie Roma
And finally, for International Women’s Day, marked on Friday, Roma actress Yalitza Aparicio has called on the media to do more to break down gender and race stereotypes.
In an interview with UN News, the star of Alfonso Cuarón’s autobiographical film centred around an Indigenous domestic worker in 1970s Mexico City, explained how her mother always encouraged her to “aim higher” in life, but how many women felt too discouraged to do so.
“An important means by which we could start would be through the media, they reach many areas and through them we can make society realize that there are many alternative possibilities for work, that people can do other things, not only what for years not only what they have made us believe for years that we can do. So if we started out there, we could start to change more things, because those messages are to society.”
Echoing that message, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called for gender equality and women’s rights, saying they are “fundamental to global progress on peace and security, human rights and sustainable development.
Recent decades have seen “remarkable progress” on women’s rights and leadership, Mr Guterres said, before warning of a “troubling backlash from an entrenched patriarchy”.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.