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News in Brief 10 March 2020

News in Brief 10 March 2020

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations. 

Flagship UN study shows accelerating climate change 

Climate change is having a major effect on all aspects of the environment, as well as on the health and wellbeing of the global population. 

That’s the conclusion of a UN report, led by the World Meteorological Organization. 

It documents accelerating signs of climate change – such as increasing land and ocean heat, accelerating sea level rise and melting ice – and the knock-on effects on human health, migration and displacement, food security, as well as land and marine ecosystems. 
Writing in the report, UN chief António Guterres warned that the world is currently “way off track” meeting commitments made by the international community in 2015 to keep global average temperatures well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. 

The report confirms that 2019 was the second warmest year on record, and 2010-2019 was the warmest decade on record.  

The warmest year so far was 2016, but that could be topped soon, World Meteorological Organization. Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said.  

“Given that greenhouse gas levels continue to increase, the warming will continue,” he insisted.  

Nicaragua: after two years of crisis, more than 100,000 have fled 

Over the past two years, more than 100,000 people in Nicaragua have sought asylum abroad, reportedly fleeing persecution and rights abuses, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Tuesday. 

The warning follows allegations of torture and murder of protesters involved in anti-Government demonstrations in 2018 in the Central American State. 

About 4,000 people a month leave the country UNHCR spokesperson Shabia Mantoo told journalists in Geneva. 

“Even after the initial surge of violence in April 2018 subsided, Nicaraguan students, human rights defenders, journalists and farmers continue to flee their country at an average rate of 4,000 people every month. With no resolution to the internal crisis in sight, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, expects these numbers to grow.” 

Ms. Mantoo said that freedom of expression has been restricted in various ways in Nicaragua, from the closure of media outlets to the imprisonment of journalists for months. 

Since the initial violent clampdown following popular protests in 2018, most Nicaraguans have fled to neighbouring Costa Rica. 

It currently hosts 77,000 refugees and asylum seekers – two-thirds of those who have fled so far.  

Burundi heads to elections as rights concerns persist 

Finally, to Burundi, where ahead of local and presidential elections, senior UN-appointed independent rights investigators have called on the Government to reopen the “democratic, civil and political space” there. 

The appeal by the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi follows its repeated warnings that the situation in the country continues to worsen – politically, economically and in terms of people’s security too. 

Of particular concern are the Imbonerakure - members of a youth league linked to President Pierre Nkurunziza’s ruling party – and to multiple attacks against opposition politicians and their families. 

They have continued to carry out “killings, disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detentions, acts of torture and ill-treatment and rape against actual or alleged political opposition members”, the Commissioners told the Human Rights Council in Geneva.  

In addition to widespread impunity for crimes, the investigators also described a worrying humanitarian situation inside and outside the country, with 336,000 Burundian refugees in neighbouring countries. 

Some have been returned in circumstances where the “voluntary nature” of their return was “questionable”, the Commission of Inquiry said. 

Daniel Johnson, UN News. 

  • Flagship UN study shows accelerating climate change 

  • Nicaragua: after two years of crisis, more than 100,000 have fled 

  • Burundi heads to elections as rights concerns persist 

Audio Credit
Daniel Johnson, UN News - Geneva
Photo Credit
WMO/Matej Štegar