This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Civilian casualties in Kashmir likely highest in over a decade, says UN report, noting lack of ‘concrete steps’ by both India and Pakistan
Civilian casualties sustained in both India-Administered Kashmir, and Pakistan-Administered Kashmir for the year up to the end of April, “are believed to be the highest number in over a decade”, according to a new report published by the UN human rights office (OHCHR), on Monday.
The report also notes that “neither India nor Pakistan have taken any concrete steps to address the numerous concerns” which were outlined in an earlier UN report from last year, said a press release accompanying the OHCHR report.
The report describes how tensions over Kashmir – which rose sharply after a deadly suicide bombing in February, targeting Indian security forces in Pulwama – are continuing to have a severe impact on civilians’ human rights, including the right to life.
Local civil society data indicates that “around 160 civilians were killed in 2018…Last year also registered the highest number of conflict-related casualties since 2008 with 586 people killed, including 267 members of armed groups and 159 security forces personnel.”
The report notes India’s Ministry for Home Affairs has published lower casualty figures, citing 37 civilians, 238 terrorists and 86 security forces personnel killed, in the 11 months up to 2 December 2018.
Of the 160 civilian deaths reported by local organizations, 71 were allegedly killed by Indian security forces, 43 by alleged members of armed groups or by unidentified gunmen, and 29 were reportedly killed due to shelling and firing by Pakistani troops in areas along the Line of Control, said OHCHR.
According to the Government of Pakistan, a further 35 civilians were killed and 135 injured on the Pakistan side of the Line of Control, due to shelling and firing by Indian forces during 2018.
Homicide kills far more people than armed conflict, new UN study shows
Around 464,000 people across the world were victims of homicidal violence in 2017, more than five times the number killed in armed conflict over the same period, UN researchers said on Monday.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) study, says Central America is the most dangerous region to live in, while the safest places to be are Asia, Europe and Oceania.
One constant since the beginning of this century, is the link between organized crime and violent deaths, according to the report.
Crime alone was responsible for 19 per cent of all homicides in 2017 and caused “many more deaths worldwide than armed conflict and terrorism combined”, said Yury Fedotov, UNODC Executive Director.
Women continue to bear “by far the greatest burden” of intimate partner and family-related homicide, the report finds, adding that more than nine in 10 homicide suspects, are men.
“Killings carried out by intimate partners are rarely spontaneous or random”, Mr. Fedotov said, noting femicide is often under-reported and “too often ignored”.
Neo-Nazi groups actively seek to recruit children online: UN Special Rapporteur
Neo-Nazi ideology is becoming more widespread in Europe and North America, a UN independent rights expert said on Monday, warning that recruitment for hate groups is “predominantly online and often targets children”.
According to a report by Special Rapporteur Tendayi Achiume, in the United States alone since 2014, there has been a 30 per cent increase in the number of such organizations, to more than 1,000.
There’s also been a 182 per cent increase in white supremacist propaganda in the US in the last five years, Ms. Achiume said, noting that the typical neo-Nazi or hate group follower, is generally young, white and male.
In her report presented to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Ms. Achiume highlighted how these groups used online recruitment strategies to “exert broad influence” on popular social media platforms, while maintaining “some degree of anonymity”.
She also cited research indicating that neo-Nazi and other white supremacist extremist groups were responsible for at least 40 deaths across North America last year.
While condemning all attacks and killings against racial, ethnic and religious minorities, the Special Rapporteur called on States to allocate resources to support deradicalization programmes for former members of neo-Nazi and hate groups.
Matt Wells, UN News.