Child labour case highlights ‘widespread’ abuse in Nepal: rights experts
Torture and arbitrary detention in Nepal are “widespread and systematic”, UN-appointed independent experts said on Tuesday, highlighting the case of a boy who was allegedly forced to work for 18 hours a day, unpaid.
In a ruling, the Human Rights Committee said that the youngster – whose identity has not been disclosed – was sent to Kathmandu as a domestic worker at the age of nine.
At 14, he was subjected to “physical and psychological abuse” by an army officer’s family, according to the UN panel, which assesses implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by its State parties.
It said that after fleeing, the boy was accused of theft and then tortured by police so that he would sign a confession that he could not read.
In a ruling, the committee called for compensation for the victim – who comes from Nepal’s indigenous Tharu community – and urged the authorities to apologize.
Here’s one of the panel’s experts, Hélène Tigroudja:
“The life of someone is shattered after enduring torture and forced labour as a child. Access to justice and accountability are essential for victims to rebuild their lives and recover their dignity. It is our hope that Nepal will take all necessary measures to protect and help victims of such acts regain their lives.”.
At the time of the original complaint, Nepal rejected the boy’s allegations, saying that they were “not based on facts and reality”.
The country also denied claims of torture and said that it was “unbelievable” that the Supreme Court had refused to hear his claim, as had been alleged.
DR Congo’s Goma passes key 21-day period without Ebola transmission: WHO
Goma city in north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo has seen no new cases of Ebola virus infection and no new transmissions in 21 days, which is the incubation period of the disease.
That’s according to the World Health Organization (or WHO), which on Tuesday welcomed the news.
Earlier this month, the UN health agency confirmed that four people were infected with Ebola in Goma, a large city bordering Rwanda.
Speaking in Geneva, WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier said that to be declared officially Ebola-free, the people of Goma would have to wait another 21 days, in line with health protocols.
In other parts of north-eastern DRC, health workers continue to face daily security threats as they search for Ebola sufferers, Mr. Lindmeier confirmed.
He noted that it was important that people received new Ebola treatments within the first few days of falling ill, while it was also key that anyone who came into contact with them was vaccinated as soon as possible.
Since the outbreak began in north-eastern DRC last August, there have been nearly 3,000 confirmed cases, including more than 1,950 deaths.
We must bring era of nuclear tests to an end, urges Guterres
And finally, to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who’s made an appeal for more global support to end nuclear weapons testing.
In a statement ahead of the International Day against Nuclear Tests on Thursday 29 August, Mr. Guterres said that the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty was a “central pillar” of international efforts to end nuclear testing for good.
But it has still not yet entered into force, more than 20 years after its adoption, the UN chief explained.
Repeating his call for all States that have not yet done so, to sign and ratify the Treaty so that it can enter into force, Mr. Guterres said that “in a world of rising tensions and divisions, our collective security depends on it”.
The International Day against Nuclear Tests marks the closing in 1991 of the test site in Semipalatinsk, Kazakhastan, the largest in the former Soviet Union.
It was the site of more than 450 tests whose impacts are “still being felt decades later”, the UN chief’s statement explained.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.