News in Brief 16 January 2023

News in Brief 16 January 2023

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

UN rights chief’s condemnation for Burkina Faso ‘broad daylight’ abductions

The UN human rights chief called on Monday for the immediate release of at least 50 women in Burkina Faso, after they were reportedly abducted in broad daylight on two consecutive days last week.

Volker Türk expressed his alarm that dozens of women who had been searching for food for their families had been taken on 12 and 13 January, “in what could be the first such attack deliberately targeting women in Burkina Faso”.

The abductions happened approximately 15 kilometres from the village of Arbinda, in the Sahel region.

Arbinda is one of many towns and villages in northern Burkina Faso that have been besieged by armed groups since early 2019, who have made it extremely difficult for residents to access food, water and other basic goods and services.

Economic slowdown likely to force workers into ‘lower quality’ jobs

Finding a decent and well-paid job is likely to be harder this year, thanks to the continuing global economic downturn, the UN labour agency said on Monday.

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), global employment is set to grow by just one per cent in 2023, which is less than half last year’s level.

The number of people unemployed around the world is also expected to rise slightly, to 208 million, according to ILO’s World Employment and Social Outlook Trends report.

In a stark warning, the UN agency forecasts that today’s economic slowdown “means that many workers will have to accept lower quality jobs, often at very low pay, sometimes with insufficient hours”.

With more, here’s Richard Samans, Director of ILO’s Research Department:

“Real wages we project for 2022 to have declined by 2.2 per cent in advanced countries and of course Europe makes up a significant proportion of advanced countries, versus a rise in real wages in developing countries.”

Pakistan: rights experts urge action on coerced religious conversions, child marriage

To Pakistan, where top rights experts expressed alarm on Monday at a rise in abductions of girls as young as 13, who are forced to marry and convert to Islam.

In their appeal to the authorities to stop the alleged abuse, the independent rights experts warned that teenagers had been “kidnapped from their families, trafficked … far from their homes (and) made to marry men sometimes twice their age”.

The rights experts - who report to the Human Rights Council – cited reports suggesting the involvement of religious authorities and the complicity of security forces and the justice system; although they also acknowledged that Pakistan had already made efforts to pass legislation prohibiting such illegal practices.

In a statement urging Pakistan to uphold the rights of women and children, Tomoya Obokata, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, maintained that Pakistan’s courts had enabled the perpetrators by accepting “fraudulent evidence” from them regarding the age of the victims and their willingness to marry and convert to Islam.

Daniel Johnson, UN News.

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  • Economic slowdown likely to force workers to accept lower quality jobs - ILO
  • UN rights chief’s condemnation for Burkina Faso ‘broad daylight’ abductions
  • Pakistan: rights experts urge action on coerced religious conversions, child marriage
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Daniel Johnson, UN News - Geneva
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© UNICEF/Vincent Tremeau