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News in Brief 4 July 2022

News in Brief 4 July 2022

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Caribbean is ‘ground zero’ for global climate emergency, says UN chief

The Caribbean is “ground zero” for climate change, the UN Secretary-General has warned.

Speaking from Suriname – where 90 per cent of its land surface is covered by rainforest – António Guterres said that unfortunately, our warming planet it not the only challenge that the wider region faces.

Speaking at the 43rd Caribbean Community and Common Market Conference in the Surinamese capital Paramaribo, Mr. Guterres also called for immediate debt relief for developing countries whose development was being crippled by arduous repayments. 

The UN chief added that he fully supported the creation of a Caribbean Resilience Fund - and the reform of the international financial system to help the region better respond and prevent massive vulnerability to external shocks. 

This included moving beyond the financial system’s preoccupation with per capita income, and establishing a ‘multidimensional vulnerability index’ to determine access to finance support. 

Libya: new suspected mass graves found in Tarhuna, says Human Rights Council probe

New suspected mass graves have been uncovered in Tarhuna, Libya, a Human Rights Council probe reported on Monday, highlighting continuing extreme rights abuses in the country that have affected children and adults alike.

In Geneva, the Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya, known as FFM for short, said that a culture of impunity still prevailed across the war-torn country. It represents “a great obstacle” to national reconciliation, truth and justice for the victims and their families.

Regarding Tarhuna specifically, which is 65 kilometres from the capital, Tripoli, the Mission’s report found evidence of widespread and systematic enforced disappearances, murder, torture and imprisonment amounting to crimes against humanity, committed by Al Kani (or Kaniyat) militias.

Here’s one of the investigators, Tracy Robinson now:

“The fact-finding mission has discovered three sites in Tarhuna where they’ve already discovered four sites of mass graves. And these three sites which the FFM believes are probably sites of mass graves. We don’t know how many, these are sites that now need to be excavated. But there have been hundreds of persons who we know have not yet been discovered who have been disappeared.”

Human rights and environment laws crucial to combat irresponsible business activities, Human Rights Council hears

Staying with human rights, and a top rights expert has called for new corporate regulations to protect vulnerable communities from environmental harm caused by deforestation, chemical and plastic production, and other activities.

David Boyd, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and environment, issued a set of recommendations on Monday covering human rights and environmental abuses.

His blueprint also covers fossil fuel exploitation and other large-scale extractive activities by business entities that are “harming people and the planet”, and doing so, unchecked, he said.

“Businesses operating in the global economy routinely abuse the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment and other human rights,” Mr. Boyd insisted.

The rights expert, who was appointed by the Human Rights Council, added that the most vulnerable people who are affected by business activities - children, women, indigenous peoples, local communities and people with disabilities - commonly face the worst obstacles to getting justice.

Mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence laws are necessary to hold business actors to account, Mr. Boyd added.

Among the laws on the issue of rights and the environment being debated today, the Special Rapporteur welcomed the European Commission’s corporate due diligence proposal for major companies, which would have to be completed before they could compete for business in the European Union.

Daniel Johnson, UN News.

  • New Libya mass graves under human rights spotlight
  • Environment laws crucial to combat irresponsible business activity
  • Carribean at 'ground zero' for climate change: UN chief
Audio Credit
Daniel Johnson, UN News - Geneva
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Photo Credit
© UNOCHA/Giles Clarke