This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Hard times forecast for global job recovery in 2020, warns UN labour agency chief
The impact of COVID-19 on jobs has been much worse than expected, the UN labour agency said on Tuesday.
In an appeal to Governments, workers and employers to support a sustainable and fair economic recovery plan, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said that the world is not likely to be in better shape by the end of 2020 than it was before the health crisis. New data from the ILO shows that working hours fell 14 per cent during the second quarter of this year - from April to June - equivalent to the loss of 400 million full-time jobs.
Last month, the agency pointed to a likely loss of around 305 million jobs.
Regionally, people in the Americas have been worst hit, with working hours down 18.3 per cent.
Although massive stimulus packages have supported workers and industry since the pandemic began, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder warned that least developed countries have been passed by:
“Whilst as I’ve said $10 trillion have been spent on stimulus spending, this has been highly concentrated; 88 per cent of that total has been spent by advanced
countries on advanced countries…it’s spending on your own economies. That’s the equivalent of about five per cent of GDP; the equivalent figure for developing and emerging economies is 2.2 per cent, for the less developed countries, it’s much less…And as the pandemic hits the developing world with increasing ferocity, I think that mismatch is going to be more than ever evident.”
UN’s Bachelet urges Philippines’ President not to sign new anti-terror law
The Human Rights Council should consider new accountability measures against those responsible for extrajudicial killings in the Philippines’ so-called war on illegal drugs, the United Nations’ top rights official said on Tuesday.
Michelle Bachelet’s appeal comes after a report by her office indicated that many thousands of people have been killed in police and vigilante operations since 2016.
According to Ms. Bachelet’s office, the campaign against illegal drugs has been linked to the deaths of 73 children, the youngest, five months old.
“The campaign against illegal drugs is being carried out without due regard for the rule of law, due process and the human rights of people who may be using or selling drugs. The report finds that the killings have been widespread and systematic – and they are ongoing.”
In February 2018, the International Criminal Court announced that it intended to open a preliminary examination of the situation in the Philippines.
On the opening day of the Council’s 44th session, Ms. Bachelet also reiterated concerns over proposed new anti-terror legislation that are now before President Rodrigo Duterte.
She urged him “to refrain from signing the law” and instead draft legislation that can prevent and counter violent extremism, while also preventing its misuse against activists exercising their right to demonstrate peacefully.
End harmful practices against women and girls, says UN Population Fund
Female genital mutilation must be stopped, along with child marriage and other harmful practices which millions of women and girls are subjected to every year.
That’s the urgent appeal from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).
Its latest State of World Population report cites at least 19 practices against girls and women that have been almost universally denounced.
These include breast ironing and virginity testing, said UNFPA Geneva Director Monica Ferro, who added that this year, more than four million girls are at risk of genital cutting, and one in five marriages today involves an underage girl. But she said that the tide is turning:
“More and more people are defined the persistent hold of harmful practices, parliamentarians are passing effective laws, traditional practitioners are putting down their tools, mothers and fathers are choosing to keep their daughters in school. Community leaders are telling friends and neighbours to protect girls from violations of their humanity. The rights, choices and bodies of girls – these are their own.”
Although some progress has been made in ending some harmful practices worldwide, COVID-19 threatens to reverse these gains, the Ms. Ferro said.
In particular, the pandemic could lead to an additional 13 million child marriages between now and 2030, according to UNFPA, with potentially skyrocketing numbers of women unable to access family planning clinics and susceptible to gender-based violence and other harmful practices.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.