This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
World must tackle ‘relentless’ displacement crisis, says UN chief
Forty-one million people around the world are internally displaced – and hundreds of thousands more have been forced from their homes since the beginning of the year – an “unacceptable” situation for which solutions can be found, UN chief Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday.
Speaking at the launch of the High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement, Mr. Guterres spoke of the acute and relentless crisis of people forced from their homes by conflict and human rights violations .
He appealed to the Panel and its members from government, international organizations, civil society, the private sector and countries especially affected by displacement to draw attention to the issue.
Mr. Guterres urged them all to bring fresh ideas to prevent forced displacement, better protect and assist displaced people and identify swifter solutions to displacement.
The Panel is co-chaired by the European Union’s former foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and Dr. Donald Kaberuka, head of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.
It is expected to meet four times over the next 12 months and consult with countries and relevant organizations, before submitting its recommendations to the Secretary-General by February 2021.
We need to give voice to ‘We the Peoples’, says UN chief
Staying with the UN Secretary-General, he also spent time on Tuesday taking advice from young activists on where to steer the world body.
The event at The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva was one of many conversations that are being held for a campaign that marks the 75th anniversary of the UN Charter in 1945.
From calls to make the UN more democratic to avoid hiding in ivory towers, Mr Guterres was also strongly encouraged to include young and marginalized people and groups, including refugees.
Here’s Yazidi survivor and refugee Adiba Qasim:
“My advice would be not just to listen to us, but also to listen to people who have small voices or who have no voice at all. I lost everything some years ago and because I have been facing death so many times, and because I have been trying everything to try to change and to find a future for me and today in 2020 we see women getting raped, slavery and killing because of the identity, because of our religions, because of our colours – so that basically I want to see in 2045 is that people can live in peace, people can live really in dignity”.
In response, Mr. Guterres said that the Organization needed to be “humble”, to recognize its failings and also give voice to the people that it is supposed to represent.
“We have a lot to change in order to respond and gain people’s trust, he said, insisting that to do so, it would involve giving the people a very strong influence in what we do”.
Women’s rights have come a long way but challenges still ‘daunting’: Bachelet
Finally, equality for women has improved in the last two and a half decades but there is a real risk of setbacks amid attacks on their freedoms, High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said on Tuesday.
In a speech marking 25 years since 189 countries signed a landmark agreement in Beijing pledging gender equality, Ms. Bachelet said that “daunting” challenges remain.
Problem areas that persist include women's equality in political life and the economy, along with harmful traditional practices and gender-based violence.
All of these things prevent women and girls from fully enjoying their inalienable rights and freedoms, the High Commissioner told the Human Rights Council in Geneva:
“We are seeing pushbacks and the resurgence of narratives against gender equality based on centuries-long discrimination. But women’s rights are not negotiable.
They cannot be an optional policy subject to the changing winds of politics.
We cannot and we will not tear apart the women’s rights agenda, establishing a hierarchy of acceptable measures and those deemed ‘too sensitive’. In other words, we must resist all challenges to the hard-won affirmation of what we know: that women’s rights are human rights – in their universality and indivisibility, and for all women, in their full and free diversity.”
Before the Beijing Declaration, discrimination against women was broadly tolerated, the High Commissioner insisted.
Today, though, more than 150 countries have laws on sexual harassment and 140 guarantee gender equality in their constitutions.
In a call for further commitment to women’s rights, Ms Bachelet expressed her support for the UN Secretary-General’s appeal on Monday for every country to promote gender equality, repeal discriminatory laws, end violence against women and girls, ensure sexual and reproductive health and rights, and strive for women’s equal representation and participation in all spheres.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.