This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Dramatic Arctic fires and sea ice melt, spell need for urgent climate action
“Exceptional and prolonged” temperatures in Siberia have left parts of the Arctic warmer than Florida and fuelled “devastating” wildfires for a second consecutive year, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Friday.
According to the UN agency, temperatures in Siberia have been more than 5C (41F) above average from January to June, and in June up to 10C (50F) above average.
Here’s spokesperson Clare Nullis:
“Some parts of Siberia this week have again topped 30 degrees Celsius (86F) – so it’s been warmer in Siberia than…many parts of Florida. We’ve had exceptional and prolonged heat for months now and this has fuelled devastating Arctic fires; and at the same time, we’re seeing rapidly decreasing sea coverage along the Russian Arctic coast.”
The cause of the furnace-like conditions is the “blocking” action of a vast weather front over the Arctic, along with a “persistent northward swing of the jet stream” which has been sending warm air into the region, although human-induced climate change was a main contributing factor, WMO said.
Data from Wednesday showed 188 probable points of fire in Siberia, according to Russian weather service Roshydromet, with blazes particularly intense in Sakha Republic and Chukotka Autonomous Okrug in far northeast Siberia.
Protests in US should take place without fear of violence: OHCHR
Peaceful demonstrations in the United States should be allowed to continue without participants having to worry about arbitrary arrest or the excessive use of force, the UN human rights office, OHCHR, said on Friday.
The announcement follows reports that non-violent protesters calling for racial justice have been detained by unidentified police officers in the U.S., said OHCHR spokesperson Liz Throssell in Geneva:
“And that is a worry because it may places those detained outside the protection of the law and may give rise to arbitrary detention and other human rights violations. I think what we would stress is that local and federal security forces deployed are properly and clearly identified and use force only when necessary …with international standards.”
Protests began across US cities after the death in police custody of George Floyd, in Minneapolis, on 25 May.
Ms. Throssell added that victims of any unnecessary use of force should have the right to remedy, via independent and impartial probes.
Rights experts welcome peace efforts in Mali
To Mali, where UN-appointed independent rights experts have welcomed international efforts to restore peace and stability to Mali, after weeks of political turmoil and violence.
On Thursday, the presidents of Ghana, Ivory Coast, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal visited Mali, bringing “fresh hope for a return to true democracy” said UN Special Rapporteur Clement Voulé and independent expert Alioune Tine, who both report to the Human Rights Council.
The fact that “so many thousands of people” had protested in recent weeks were an indication of how highly Malians valued their rights, the two experts said, after condemning at least 14 deaths and 150 injuries, on 10 and 11 July. “Excessive use of force will only fuel anger and endanger any possibility of a way out of the crisis," they said.
In a statement calling for peaceful demonstrations, they urged the authorities to fulfil their human rights obligations, too.
This was essential for a non-violent solution to the current crisis, for security in the country “and the entire sub-region”, they said.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.