This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
I am my brother’s keeper, George Floyd’s brother tells UN rights body
A special debate at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday heard powerful testimony from the brother of George Floyd, whose death captured on video, allegedly at the hands of US police officers, has sparked worldwide protest over systemic racism.
In a pre-recorded appeal to the Council to set up an international probe to investigate killings of Black people in America and violence against demonstrators, Philonise Floyd urged them to act.
“You watched my brother die. That could have been me. I am my brother’s keeper. You in the United Nations are your brothers' and sisters’ keepers in America, and you have the power to help us get justice for my brother George Floyd. I am asking you to help him. I am asking you to help me. I am asking you to help us. Black people in America.”
Addressing the Council, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet called for the reform of specific institutions and law enforcement agencies, to address racism, across the whole world, and measures to address the “pervasive racism that corrodes institutions of government, entrenches inequality and underlies so many violations of human rights”.
“Gratuitous brutality has come to symbolise the systemic racism that harms millions of people of African descent”, she said, adding that it causes “pervasive, daily, life-long, generational and too often, lethal harm”.
Only one in 10 countries have effective measures against child poverty
Child welfare benefits should be boosted all over the world to keep families from falling further into poverty, the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, said on Wednesday.
In a warning that universal child benefits are only available in one in 10 nations globally, the agency said that unconditional cash payments or tax transfers, were hugely beneficial to youngsters and the wider community. According to a joint report by UNICEF and the Overseas Development Institute, universal cash benefits to children in middle-income countries that cost just one per cent of gross domestic product, “would lead to a 20 per cent decline in poverty across the entire population”.
In high-income countries, introduction of universal child benefits had led to a five per cent reduction in child poverty.
UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said that such investment was a “lifeline” to families.
It was needed “now more than ever” she said, “as the economic fallout of COVID-19 threatens to roll back years of progress in reducing poverty”.
US Supreme Court ruling on sexual orientation and gender identity ‘extremely positive’ – UN expert
A US Supreme Court ruling that an individual cannot be fired on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity has been welcomed by a UN-appointed rights expert.
Victor Madrigal-Borloz, a UN Independent Expert appointed by the Human Rights Council, said that the court’s decision would benefit millions.
It would also help break the cycle of discrimination “that often condemns LGBT and gender-diverse persons to social exclusion and ultimately to poverty”, he insisted.
Mr. Madrigal-Borloz noted that the 15 June judgment would help to address stigma, promote economic inclusion and encourage legal recognition of different gender identities.
The legal ruling from the top US court related to the cases of an individual who was fired after joining a gay softball team, a skydiving instructor dismissed after
telling a client that he was gay; and a funeral home worker who lost her job after announcing that she intended to live as a woman.
The Special Rapporteur added that in most UN Member States, national laws do not provide adequate protection from work-related discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity