This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
As schools prepare to open in Europe, WHO advises on facemask use by children
As children embark on a new school year in much of the northern hemisphere, the UN has issued new advice on whether they should wear facemasks in class, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and UN children’s fund (UNICEF), youngsters aged five and under should not be required to wear masks.
This decision is based on the safety and overall interest of the child and their ability to use a mask on their own.
For six to 11-year-olds, the advice on whether masks are needed depends on many factors.
These include whether there is widespread transmission in the child’s neighbourhood and the impact of wearing a mask on their learning, with consultation encouraged between the authorities, teachers, parents and medical providers.
Children aged 12 and over should wear a mask complying with the same conditions as adults, the WHO and UNICEF said.
This is particularly important when they cannot guarantee at least a one-metre distance from others and there is widespread transmission in the area.
Bolivia: UN human rights chief urges structural changes to prevent crises
To Bolivia now, and its decision to hold elections on 18 October, which has been welcomed by UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet.
The development follows grave human rights violations committed last October and November amid a major political crisis after the general election.
Some 30 people died during protests, at least 20 during operations by the police and armed forces.
A new report by Ms. Bachelet’s Office into those events features more than 150 interviews with victims, witnesses, civil society representatives and the authorities, highlighting killings, torture, ill-treatment and arbitrary detention.
In a statement on Monday, the High Commissioner for Human Rights said that it was essential for the elections to pass off “in full respect of human rights”.
Ms. Bachelet also expressed concern that no-one has been held accountable for the killing of nine people in demonstrations in Sacaba, 10 people in Senkata “nor for the majority of the killings” covered by her Office’s report.
Imprisoned activists in Egypt at grave risk of COVID-19: human rights experts
Independent UN-appointed rights experts have expressed alarm over “grave and unnecessary” risks faced by scores of imprisoned activists in Egypt, linked to their lengthy pre-trial detention.
Citing “credible allegations” that some Egyptian rights defenders have been “arbitrarily detained, forcibly disappeared or tortured, the experts called for their release – and recognition for “the vital role they play in society”.
The risks faced by those in detention are even more pronounced because of COVID-19, the experts said on Monday.
In a statement, they said that there are few physical distancing measures in place in the country’s prisons, and that the true number of coronavirus fatalities “may be much higher” than the number of confirmed cases so far.
The independent experts also raised concern over the handling of activists’ detention and trials, with many pre-trial hearings allegedly taking place without defendants or lawyers present.
Where defendants have been transferred to court, they have been tried in big groups without individual consideration of personal or medical circumstances, they warned.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.