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News in Brief 19 July 2021

News in Brief 19 July 2021

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Myanmar: ‘Terror campaign’ targets rights defenders, UN experts say

In Myanmar, human rights defenders continue to be targeted as part of a “terror campaign” by the military junta, UN-appointed independent rights experts said on Monday.

Calling for a stronger international response to the 1 February coup, the Special Rapporteurs Tom Andrews and Mary Lawlor said that nearly 900 men, women and children have been killed by security forces since the military takeover.

They cited credible reports of activists who had been forced into hiding after arrest warrants were issued against them.

Their homes have been raided, their possessions seized, and family members have been threatened, the rights experts said, noting that many others who were unable to flee have been arrested.

Lawyers representing those detained after the coup have also been arrested, as have journalists covering the protests, the experts said.

Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews said that the people of Myanmar appreciated the expressions of concern from the international community, “but what they desperately need is action”.

“It is time for strong, focused and coordinated action that includes economic sanctions and an arms embargo,” Mr. Andrews insisted, before describing a prevailing “reign of terror”.

Fewer women than men will regain work during COVID recovery: ILO

To the world of work now, and a warning that women are unlikely to see their employment prospects recover to the same level as men, by the end of the year, because of the COVID crisis.

A new study from the International Labour Organization (ILO) shows that there will be 13 million fewer women in employment this year compared to 2019, while male employment will likely recover to levels seen two years ago.

This means that only 43 per cent of the world’s working-age women will be employed in 2021, compared to 69 per cent of their male counterparts.

The ILO paper suggests that women have seen disproportionate job and income losses because they are over-represented in the sectors hardest-hit by lockdowns, such as accommodation, food services and manufacturing.

Regionally, the Americas saw women’s employment fall most, by more than nine per cent. This was followed by the Arab States at just over four per cent, then Asia-Pacific at 3.8, Europe at 2.5 and Central Asia at 1.9.

In Africa, men’s employment fell just 0.1 per cent between 2019 and 2020, while women’s employment decreased by 1.9 per cent.

Surge in ‘systematic’ attacks on Mali’s slave workers

A steep rise in the number of attacks in Mali against descendants of slaves has highlighted the failure of the authorities to protect them, UN-appointed independent rights experts said on Monday.

In an appeal for action, the rights experts underlined the “constant and systematic’ nature of the violence.

The development follows an incident on 4 July when villagers from Makhadougou, in the west of the country, used machetes and rifles to prevent people they considered slaves from working their fields.

So far this year, 57 men and five women have been injured in related clashes in Mali’s Kayes region, and two times as many people believed to be descended from slaves, have been injured compared with last year.

Mali outlawed slavery in 1905, but descendants of slaves still face discrimination.

Those who try to stand up for their rights are regularly and violently attacked by traditional or religious leaders and their allies, including, in some cases, State authorities, the rights experts maintained.

Daniel Johnson, UN News.

  • Fewer women than men will regain work during COVID-19 recovery: ILO
  • Myanmar: ‘Terror campaign’ targets rights defenders, UN experts say
  • Mali: surge in attacks on 'slave' workers
Audio Credit
Daniel Johnson, UN News - Geneva
Photo Credit
ILO Photo