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News in Brief 28 September 2023

News in Brief 28 September 2023

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations. 

Karabakh displacement increasing ‘by the hour’: UN refugee chief

More than 50,000 refugees have arrived in Armenia from the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan and their number is increasing “by the hour”, UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi said on Thursday.

Mr. Grandi stressed that UN refugee agency (UNHCR) convoys with more relief supplies are on the way. 

“We are ready to mobilize additional resources to support the humanitarian efforts of the Government and people of Armenia,” he said.

UNHCR said earlier this week that most of those arriving are vulnerable, including mainly older people, women and children, and that they require urgent emergency assistance.

UNHCR and UN partners, along with the office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Armenia, have been supporting the Armenian Government’s response to the influx of people, as needs continue to increase.

UN chief António Guterres has also expressed his concern about the emergency. His spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told reporters that it was essential that the rights of the displaced populations were protected and that they should receive the humanitarian support they need.

Indigenous Peoples’ rights must be central to green investments

“Green” finance investments on Indigenous Peoples’ land must rely on their participation and use a human rights-based approach.

That’s the message from the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, Francisco Cali-Tzay, who warned on Thursday that the shift to green finance should not create more problems for native communities already impacted negatively by fossil-fuel related projects.

Here he is briefing the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva:

“Indigenous Peoples’ scientific knowledge is critical to solving the biodiversity loss and climate change crises. Ensuring their participation and consent for projects affecting their lands is the obligation of States under international law. Business corporations and financial actors have similar responsibilities and obligations under international standards and national laws.”

The independent rights expert reminded the Council that “the most biodiverse and best-preserved lands, forests and shores on this planet are those… stewarded by Indigenous Peoples”.

He stressed that green investments could be a chance for Indigenous Peoples to obtain funding to preserve their lands, knowledge and distinct ways of life, and to “create economic opportunities that may help them to maintain and strengthen their indigenous identity”.

The Special Rapporteur also said that he was concerned by increasing reports that conservation and climate-oriented projects and programmes rarely include protections for the fundamental rights of Indigenous Peoples. 

“Financial decision-makers have a crucial role in preventing this, by demanding social and environmental safeguards and effective due diligence protocols to ensure Indigenous Peoples’ participation before approving investments for green projects or programmes,” he insisted.

Independent rights experts slam ‘systemic racism’ in US police and justice systems

Staying with human rights: the United States’ police forces and criminal justice system require urgent reform to rid them of “systemic racism” against people of African descent, UN-appointed independent rights experts said on Thursday. 

Members of the UN’s Independent Expert Mechanism to Advance Racial Justice and Equality, released a new report on the issue following an official visit to the country.

They heard testimonies from 133 people affected, visited five detention centres and held meetings with civil society groups as well as government and police authorities in Washington DC, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis and New York City.

Tracie Keesee, an expert member of the Mechanism, said that the testimonies she heard about how victims were denied justice or redress were “heart-breaking” and “unacceptable”.

“All actors involved, including police departments and police unions, must join forces to combat the prevailing impunity,” she said.

According to the report, black people in the US are three times more likely to be killed by police than whites, and 4.5 times more likely to be incarcerated.

Collective efforts needed to stop wasting food while millions go hungry: FAO, UNEP

A staggering one billion tonnes of food are wasted every year, while up to 783 million people around the world are facing hunger.

Ahead of the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste on Friday, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) are sounding the alarm over losses amounting to 13 per cent of the world’s food in the supply chain before products even hit the shelves, and a further 17 per cent lost in households and retail.

The UN agencies said that stopping food loss and waste boosts food security, saves resources and helps reduce our carbon footprint. 

They called for urgent action from the public and private sector as well as consumers to save and preserve food and set out concrete steps for all stakeholders in a joint guide, insisting that “our collective efforts can make a difference”.

Dominika Tomaszewska-Mortimer, UN News.

  • Karabakh displacement increasing ‘by the hour’: UNHCR chief
  • Indigenous Peoples’ rights must be central to green investments
  • Independent rights experts slam ‘systemic racism’ in US police and justice systems
  • Collective efforts needed to stop wasting food while millions go hungry
Audio Credit
Dominika Tomaszewska-Mortimer, UN News - Geneva
Audio Duration
Photo Credit
FAO/Jonathan Bloom