This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
‘Invisible’ stateless people set to miss COVID-19 jabs, warns UNHCR
Millions of stateless people around the world could miss out on COVID-19 vaccinations because they lack identity papers and are essentially “invisible to the authorities”.
That’s the warning from UN refugee agency, UNHCR, which on Tuesday said that the “great majority” of national immunization plans in 157 countries lacked “clarity” on how to reach people who have no legal proof of their identity – even though their “age, health status or role in society” would otherwise make them a priority for vaccination.
Although it is relatively common for governments not to identify stateless people in their coronavirus plans – and only two have barred stateless people specifically - UNHCR said that “in many contexts, stateless people (have been) barred from accessing COVID testing and treatment”, owing to their lack of legal status.
There are at least 4.2 million people without a nationality in 94 countries, according to UNHCR, whose mandate is to prevent and reduce statelessness, and to protect stateless people who are among the minorities hardest-hit by the new coronavirus.
Human rights in Eritrea: ‘No tangible signs of progress’
To the Human Rights Council in Geneva now, which has heard of alleged ongoing rights violations in Eritrea and “no tangible signs of progress or concrete evidence of improvement”.
Addressing the forum on Monday, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights there, Mohamed Abdelsalam Babiker, said that the East African nation had also extended its human rights violations beyond its borders by committing grave abuses in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.
Among the serious issues of concern, Mr. Babiker listed the use of arbitrary and incommunicado detention, inhumane prison conditions and lack of freedoms of expression, opinion, association, freedom of the media, as well as the right to participate in political and public affairs.
While welcoming the release of more than 100 Muslims, Orthodox Christians, and Jehovah’s Witnesses, the rights expert - who is an independent expert appointed by the Human Rights Council – insisted that faith groups were still being detained without due process or the right to a fair trial.
In reply, the Eritrean delegation said that report of the Special Rapporteur had been full of questionable ? presumptions.
Scale back on raw fish consumption in Southeast Asia, says FAO
Finally, a fishy story with a toxic twist from the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, FAO, which on Tuesday warned of the potential dangers of getting hooked on the slippery customers.
The consumption of uncooked freshwater fish is a staple food for millions of people in many parts of Southeast Asia, but the UN body has said that people should be aware that a dangerous disease has been linked to doing so.
Known as Group B Streptococcus (or GBS), the bacterial sickness it causes, can be serious and difficult to diagnose and treat in time.
In Singapore in 2015, at least 146 people fell ill after eating fish tainted with GBS; some patients had limbs amputated after severe blood poisoning.
Outside Singapore, cases of the fish bug have been documented in China, Hong Kong, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Thailand and Viet Nam.
To protect against this recently identified food hazard, FAO called for the promotion of good fish farming practices and proper cooking, as the only known effective way to avoid getting sick.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.