This is the News in Brief, from the United Nations.
UN will support Lebanon ‘in every possible way’ pledges UN chief
The UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Monday pledged that the Organization would continue its support for Beirut and the people of Lebanon “in every possible way”.
Speaking at a briefing on the dire humanitarian crisis effecting the shattered capital, since last Tuesday’s deadly blast, the UN chief noted that in the midst of “multiple challenges” the people had remained generous hosts to many Palestinian and Syrian refugees.
And since the explosion, the “legendary strength” of the people had seen neighbours helping each other, clearing shattered glass from the streets and offering shelter to the homeless by the thousand.
Mr. Guterres thanked countries that have already provided tangible aid, and urged all to give “speedily and generously”.
At this time of both sorrow and prolonged frustration, the anger of the Lebanese people is palpable. Their voices must be heard. It is important that a credible and transparent investigation determine the cause of the explosion and bring about the accountability demanded by the Lebanese people. It is also important that reforms be implemented so as to address the needs of the Lebanese people for the longer term.
UN rights chief warns new Somalia draft law ‘risks legitimizing child marriage’
The UN human rights chief on Monday, warned that a new law drafted by parliamentarians in Somalia, “risks legitimizing child marriage, among other alarming practices”.
High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet called for legislators not to pass the bill, saying that provisions of what is known as the Sexual Intercourse Related Crimes Law, “constitute serious breaches of international human rights norms and standards.”
The human rights office chief said if passed, it would represent “a serious step backwards for the rights of victims of sexual violence in Somalia, in particular women and girls”, as well as sending a worrying signal to other States in the region.
She urged MPs to “swiftly adopt an earlier 2018 Sexual Offenses Bill, unanimously endorsed by the Council of Ministers, and put in place a comprehensive strategy, and effective legislation to eliminate practices and harmful gender stereotypes that have a disproportionate negative impact on women and girls.”
Boosting migrant worker protections during COVID pandemic
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) released new employer guidance on Monday, to increase protections for migrant workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Migrant workers are a crucial part of the global workforce, accounting for around 3.5 per cent of the world’s population, the UN migration agency said.
Businesses of all sizes rely on them, including sectors providing essential commodities and services, including industries which are critical to keeping supplies flowing to consumers.
Marina Manke, Head of the IOM Labour Mobility and Human Development Division, pointed out that this included doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals, but also the “agricultural, transport and retail workers that keep our cities and towns functioning”.
Susceptible to job loss, salary cuts, and various health and safety concerns, migrant workers tend to be far from family support networks, frequently face cultural and language barriers and often lack social protections given to citizens.
Matt Wells, UN News.