This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
UN’s rights chief condemns ‘caste’ killing in Nepal
The killing of five men in Nepal who had supported an inter-caste relationship, has been condemned by the UN rights chief.
In a statement on Friday, the High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet expressed shock at last weekend’s bloodshed, whose victims were from the Dalit - or “untouchables” - class.
It reportedly happened after a 21-year-old man and several friends attempted to escort his higher caste girlfriend, at her request, before being attacked.
Five men were later found dead while another person is still missing.
Ms. Bachelet also called for an independent investigation into reports that a 12-year-old low-caste girl was killed in an attack in Rupandehi district and left hanging from a tree.
She is said to have been forcibly married to her alleged rapist, from a dominant caste.
It is distressing that caste-based discrimination “remains widespread, not only in Nepal but other countries”, the High Commissioner said in a statement, adding that ending the prejudice was fundamental to internationally agreed sustainable development goals of leaving no one behind.
UN human rights office welcomes online action to remove misinformation
Moves by social media platforms to stop the spread of potentially ill-informed and prejudiced information by users have been welcomed by the UN human rights office, OHCHR.
The development follows the decision by Twitter earlier this week – for the first time - to highlight two posts by US President Donald Trump.
They called into question the proposed use of postal ballots in California in the Presidential election later this year, which Mr. Trump warned risked being “rigged”.
UN human rights spokesperson, Rupert Colville, on Friday said that although heavy-handed regulation could stifle free expression, it was a good thing if online chat companies addressed posts whose veracity could be challenged.
Social media platforms have frequently contributed to human rights violations, Mr Colville said, including through hate speech, incitement to violence and misinformation that undermines fundamental rights.
He also cautioned against “overbroad regulation can stifle free expression and be used to target human rights defenders” and called for “thoughtful consideration” by authorities and effective responses”.
Nine in 10 smokers start before they are 18 years old, warns WHO
Tobacco products continue to kill eight million people a year who get hooked via a $9 billion annual marketing strategy.
That’s the warning from the UN World Health Organization (WHO); it says that even during a global pandemic, the tobacco and nicotine industry is still promoting products that limit people’s ability to fight new coronavirus and recover from the disease.
For this year’s World No Tobacco Day – marked on Sunday – the agency is focusing on protecting teenagers, who are a key target.
More than 40 million young people aged 13-15 have already started to use tobacco, it estimates.
In a bid to help prevent addiction among youngsters, the agency has highlighted commonly used tactics to watch out for.
WHO says that smoking e-cigarettes and hookah pipes is harmful, addictive and increases the risk of developing heart and lung disease.
The agency also warns that most of the 15,000 flavours on offer – including bubble-gum and candy - are there to attract youngsters, who at least double their chance of smoking cigarettes later in life.
Other marketing strategies being employed by companies during the COVID-19 pandemic, have included the offer of free branded masks and a home delivery service during quarantine.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.