This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
‘Yawning gender power gap’: UN chief
UN chief António Guterres told the opening of the Commission on the Status of Women on Monday that gender inequality and discrimination against women and girls amounted to an “overwhelming global injustice”.
He also acknowledged the “extraordinary circumstances” ushered in by the global coronavirus epidemic, that has led to the postponement of most events that were due to take place at UN Headquarters.
Noting that gender equality is “fundamentally a question of power”, he underscored that for millennia, we have lived in a male-dominated world.
According to Mr. Guterres, “centuries of discrimination, deep-rooted patriarchy and misogyny have created a yawning gender power gap”.
“This simply has to change”, he stated.
The Secretary-General urged everyone to send “a clear message to the world” that women’s rights are human rights, and that gender equality is central to all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
‘Serious rights violations’ in Iran: UN rights expert
In the wake of recent protests in Iran, Javaid Rehman, the UN independent expert on the human rights situation in the country, said on Monday he’d observed “serious” violations in detention facilities.
And of particular concern is the situation of those arrested during November protests, the Special Rapporteur said, in his latest report to the Human Rights Council.
He also highlighted that significant economic challenges in the country, worsened by sanctions, are having a major impact on economic and social rights.
Mr. Rehman expressed concern over the effects of sanctions, which have created serious shortages of medication and medical equipment, including “for rare and life-threatening conditions”.
Further isolation of DPRK during COVID-19 outbreak, ‘not the answer’
And finally, staying with human rights, the independent expert who monitors the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, more commonly known as North Korea, told the Human Rights Council in Geneva that the human rights situation “continues to be serious”.
According to Tomas Ojea Quintana’s report, international sanctions appear to be having a negative impact on citizens’ rights, with border closings to prevent the spread of COVID-19, further aggravating the situation.
“Further isolation of the country is not the answer” he said, in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic, calling on the international community to respond with medical and scientific assistance.
The UN expert said that as leader Kim Jong-un recently recognized, “a widespread infection…would entail serious consequences for the people…yet, the country has only limited medical capabilities”.
Liz Scaffidi, UN News.