This is the news in brief from the United Nations.
Brunei’s new penal code would enshrine ‘cruel and inhuman punishments’
Proposed changes to Brunei’s penal code to incorporate punishments under a strict interpretation of Islamic Sharia law - including death by stoning - should be halted, the UN’s top human rights official, Michelle Bachelet, said on Monday.
In an appeal to Brunei’s Government to stop what she described as “draconian” revisions, due to come into force on Wednesday, High Commissioner Bachelet maintained that they “would enshrine in legislation cruel and inhuman punishments, that seriously breach international human rights law”.
According to a statement from Ms. Bachelet issue by her office, OHCHR, the death penalty would in theory be applicable for offences such as rape, adultery, sodomy; extramarital sexual relations for Muslim citizens; robbery, and insult or defamation of the Prophet Mohammad.
Public flogging as a punishment for abortion would also apply, as well as amputation for theft.
Other changes include making it a criminal offence to expose Muslim children “to the beliefs and practices of any religion other than Islam”, Ms. Bachelet said, before describing them as potentially marking “a serious setback” for human rights protections in the south-east Asian State.
UN highlights profound implication of population trends on sustainable development
The United Nations is highlighting the important role that population trends play in promoting sustainable development, during the fifty-second Commission on Population and Development, which began in New York on Monday.
This year’s Commission is also an opportunity to take stock and review progress made since the landmark International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), which took place 25 years ago in Cairo.
Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, said that since then, fewer people are living in extreme poverty, the risk of maternal death has declined by more than 40 per cent, and primary education has expanded the horizons of millions across the world.
But, she added, there are gaps in implementation, and many challenges remain.
She also warned that efforts by nations to meet some of the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the 2030 deadline, are not keeping pace with population growth.
‘Multiple’ intercommunal attacks in central Mali
And in Mali, the UN Mission there (MINUSMA) has reported that intercommunal violence continued through the weekend in the Mopti region of the northwest African nation, with “multiple attacks”.
This follows on from attacks on 23 March against Fulani herders, allegedly carried out by member of the Dogon ethic group, in which more than 150 died, and at least 70 were injured.
More details from UN Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric:
“The Mission says that unidentified armed assailants targeted villages 50 km south-west of Bandiagara town on Saturday, leaving at least one person dead and another wounded. Scores of houses and granaries were burnt and cattle [were looted]. On Sunday, an attack on Kassa, a village located near Bandiagara, resulted in three people killed and one wounded.”
MINUSMA has deployed a Rapid Reaction Force of peacekeepers to support Malian armed forces and help restore security in the region, for the protection of civilians, including air support to deter further attacks.
The Head of the Mission, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, called on all parties to remain calm and refrain from further violence. He reiterated the UN’s commitments to spare no effort to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice.
Matt Wells, UN News.