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News in Brief 22 October 2020

News in Brief 22 October 2020

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations. 

Pandemic highlights education as ‘public good and essential public service’ 

The COVID pandemic has highlighted the value “every society places on education as a public good, and essential public service.” 

That’s according to Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, speaking at UN educational, scientific and cultural agency, UNESCO’s, Global Education Meeting in Paris on Thursday.  

She said it had demonstrated the vital link between education, nutrition, gender equality, health and social protection, and show how quickly education systems can react in a crisis.  

She praised governments, teachers, parents and caregivers, and students themselves, who have “persevered and adapted to new realities.” 

But the coronavirus pandemic has still left at least a third of the world’s students out of school, and close to half a billion students are still affected by school closures.  

The deputy UN chief said the declaration from the UNESCO meeting endorsed by dozens of countries, signaled the international community’s intention to “halt such negative impacts and avert a generational catastrophe.” 

UN experts urge Thai government to allow peaceful protests 

Independent UN human rights experts on Thursday urged the Thai government to guarantee the fundamental rights of peaceful assembly and free speech and called for an end to an on-going crackdown on peaceful protests. 

“The imposition of a state of emergency is the latest in a series of draconian measures aimed at stifling peaceful demonstrations and criminalizing dissenting voices”, they said. 

Thai authorities on Thursday reportedly revoked the state of emergency decree, imposed a week ago, after trying to bring months of protests against the prime minister, and growing criticism of the monarchy’s role, to an end. 

“We urge the Thai government to allow students, human rights defenders and others to protest in a peaceful manner. The Thai people should be allowed to freely speak their mind and share their political views, both online and offline, without prosecution”, the independent rights experts said in a statement.    

Since 13 October, at least 80 individuals have been arrested, of whom 27 remain in detention, the UN human rights office (OHCHR) added.  

WHO and Wikimedia Foundation expand access to trusted COVID information 

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Wikimedia Foundation - the nonprofit that administers Wikipedia – on Thursday announced a new collaboration to expand public access to the latest and most reliable information about COVID-19.  

The collaboration will make trusted, public health facts available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, at a time when countries face continuing resurgences of COVID-19, amid a profusion of false and misleading information about the pandemic.  

WHO said that people everywhere would now be able to access and share WHO infographics, videos, and other public health assets on Wikimedia Commons, a digital library of free images and other multimedia. 

Matt Wells, UN News.  

  • Pandemic highlights education as ‘public good and essential public service’ 

  • UN experts urge Thai government to allow peaceful protests 

  • WHO and Wikimedia Foundation expand access to trusted COVID information 

Audio Credit
Matt Wells, UN News
Photo Credit
© UNICEF/Raphael Pouget