This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
UN’s Yemen negotiator calls for ‘courage’ to end fighting
All those fighting in Yemen must find the courage to bring an end to the bloodshed there and offer people a future, where peace is sustainable.
That’s the message on Monday from veteran United Nations negotiator Martin Griffiths, Special Envoy for Yemen, who has said that it’s time to reflect on five years of war that have ravaged Yemen, killed thousands and left millions suffering.
His appeal on 21 September – the International Day of Peace – also coincides with prisoner release talks that began last Friday in Switzerland.
They are part of a deal agreed in Sweden in 2018 between the Yemen Government based in Aden and the mainly Houthi opposition, which controls the capital Sana’a.
Some 15,000 prisoners and detainees are the object of that deal; a reported 900 Government loyalists and some 600 Houthis are to be freed as part of the Swiss discussions.
In a Tweet welcoming the talks, co-managed by the UN and Red Cross, Mr. Griffiths urged the Parties to “conclude discussions, release detainees swiftly (and) bring relief to thousands of Yemeni families”.
The Special Envoy warned that the Coronavirus pandemic is pushing the limits of suffering in Yemen even further, after repeating the UN’s call for a global ceasefire.
“To Yemenis, especially those Yemenis in civil society and women and youth groups, I salute you all, on your courage and persistence. Please continue to advocate for a future of equal citizenship, rule of law and accountable governance for your country. A future of sustainable peace. And to the warring Parties, I say, ‘On this day, I hope you reflect and find the courage to take the first step towards giving the people of Yemen the peace they need and deserve.’”
According to the UN World Health Organization (WHO), Yemen has the world’s highest death rate per positive case of coronavirus, with nearly 600 deaths from around 2,000 confirmed cases.
Spain ‘did not ensure that Down’s child’s school needs were met’, says UN panel
A UN-appointed rights panel has found that Spain did not take “reasonable steps” that would have allowed a child with Down’s Syndrome to stay in mainstream education.
In its first decision on the right to inclusive education, the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities said that Spain had failed to fulfil its obligations under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The case dates back to 2011, when the Spanish authorities enrolled a boy identified as Ruben in a special education centre, against his parents’ wishes.
Until that point, Rubén had been attending a mainstream school, but the situation deteriorated, amid allegations of ill-treatment and abuse by his teacher.
Rubén and his father eventually took their case to the UN in 2017.
Committee member Markus Schefer said the panel had ruled that the authorities did not carry out a thorough assessment of Ruben’s educational needs, nor of the “reasonable accommodations” required for him to continue attending a mainstream school.
The Committee also urged Spain to eliminate any educational segregation of students with disabilities in both special education schools and specialised units within mainstream schools.
UN’s ‘Global Conversation’ shows that people want the basics to tackle COVID
Finally, in a massive global conversation with the UN, more than a million people have told the Organisation what they want most.
According to the results of the online survey that was launched in January to mark the UN’s 75th anniversary, people’s main immediate priority today is improved access to basic services like healthcare, safe water, sanitation and education.
Next, amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, people said they also wanted greater international solidarity and increased support to those hardest-hit by the pandemic.
The response should tackle inequalities and rebuild a more inclusive economy, respondents said.
The UN75 survey also showed that our inability to stem the climate crisis and the destruction of the natural environment is people’s biggest concern for the medium and long-term.
Other major priorities include ensuring greater respect for human rights, settling conflicts, tackling poverty and reducing corruption.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.