Global perspective Human stories

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: Human Rights Day, Samoa measles, COP25, economic slowdown, Myanmar at ICJ

Children in Congo Brazzaville gather to celebrate and demand their basic human rights.
© UNICEF/Diefaga
Children in Congo Brazzaville gather to celebrate and demand their basic human rights.

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: Human Rights Day, Samoa measles, COP25, economic slowdown, Myanmar at ICJ

Human Rights

A recap of Tuesday’s stories includes a day of activism on Human Rights Day; 70 Samoan lives now claimed by measles; COP25 news roundup from Madrid; global trade on the slide; and legal proceedings begin at the ICJ against Myanmar, as Aung San Suu Kyi prepares to defend her country against genocide allegations.

 Human Rights Day celebrates ‘tremendous activism’ of world youth

High school girls from Long Island, New York, join other youth climate activists in a demonstration calling for global action to combat climate change. (20 September 2019)

Activists, students and UN officials came together on Tuesday to pay tribute to young people’s “tremendous activism” in promoting human rights for everyone. 

Speaking at UN Headquarters during an event to mark Human Rights Day, the Secretary-General António Guterres urged governments to “invest in progress and hope” by paying attention to youth and engaging with them. 

Read our full coverage here.

Every day, 33,000 girls under the age of 18 are married, often against their will and one in three women will face sexual violence.

The 16 Days Against Violence campaign, led by the UN sexual and reproductive health agency, UNFPA, ended on Tuesday,  Human Rights Day.

UNFPA Executive Director Natalia Kanem spoke to UN News in Geneva:



Aung San Suu Kyi appears at ICJ as UN rights expert urges greater protection for Myanmar activists

Aung San Suu Kyi appears at the UN International Court of Justice (ICJ) on 10 December 2019.

Authorities in Myanmar and social media companies are being urged to take greater action to protect activists in the south-east Asian country who are fighting for justice and accountability for crimes committed against the minority Rohingya population in 2016 and 2017.

Making the appeal is the UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, who reports that online hostility against activists has increased since the announcement last month of international legal proceedings over the atrocities.

Here’s our story.

UN chief reaffirms support for Ukraine ‘territorial integrity’ after four nation talks

Halyna Yanchenko, one of Ukraine’s youngest MPs, looks at a memorial for those who died during fighting in the east of Ukraine.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday welcomed the outcomes of a meeting held between Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany in Paris on Monday, which reach agreement over a “full and comprehensive” ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, according to news reports.

The talks between the so-called “Normandy Four” involved a first face-to-face meeting between Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin, brokered by the leaders of France and Germany.

More than five years of fighting in Ukraine’s east between national forces and mostly pro-Russian rebels have left well over 10,000 combatants and civilians dead.

UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric, issued a statement saying that Mr. Guterres “reaffirms the strong support of the United Nations for the lead role of the member countries of the Normandy Four, the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) Trilateral Contact Group, and the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine in the framework of the Minsk Agreements.

The Minsk Agreements of 2015 set out the necessary steps to restore peace in eastern regions of Ukraine, predicated on a ceasefire before political measures can be implemented.

“The Secretary-General calls on all concerned to redouble their efforts to build on recent progress towards a resolution of the conflict”, said Mr. Dujarric. “He reiterates his full support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.”

Samoa measles outbreak claims 70 lives, majority are children under five  

The Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital at Motootua provides the people of Samoa with numerous health services and facilities, including the Youth Friendly Center.

Seventy people have now died from Samoa’s measles outbreak, UN humanitarians confirmed on Tuesday, as the organization released emergency funding to help the authorities step up efforts to eradicate the preventable disease. 

The development means that $2.6 million will be made available for the small Pacific island, where health providers have been reportedly overwhelmed. 

Our full update on this developing story, is here.

Deliver ‘significant results now’, UN General Assembly President tells COP25 climate conference

Storm clouds forming over Banghwa-ri in Gyeongsangnam-do, Republic of Korea.

It is “imperative” that the COP25 climate conference underway in Spain delivers “significant results now”, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the UN General Assembly (PGA), said on Tuesday.

“Science is unequivocal on the urgency to act, both at global and national levels”, he told the conference to address the climate crisis - officially known as the 25th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Click here for more on the story.

World economy ‘in grip of global slowdown after 2018 surge’ 

Quay cranes on docks in Sri Lanka. The global economy is critically dependent on the international merchant fleet of carriers and tankers to keep commodities moving swiftly, safely and efficiently.

Global trade has been backsliding this year, UN economists said on Tuesday, estimating that it’s set to end the year 2.4 per cent down, with an overall value of $19 trillion. 

This poor performance comes on the back of significant growth in 2017 and 2018, according to UNCTAD, the UN’s trade and development agency in Geneva. 

In its 2019 Handbook of Statistics, it says that global economic output will only grow by 2.3 per cent this year - 0.7 percentage points less than last year. 

And it believes that the services sector will increase by only 2.7 per cent - to $6 trillion – which is a “significant s lowdown” compared with the last two years. 

Among the reasons for the falling value of trade, UNCTAD cites the high price of fuel in 2018, which has not continued into 2019. 

Maritime transport has also lost momentum, with volumes rising by only 2.7 per cent last year, compared with 4.7 per cent in 2017. 

Listen to or download our audio News in Brief for 10 December on SoundCloud: