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UN Catch-Up Dateline Geneva - Madagascar crisis, Africa COVID alert, US lifts vaccine protections, South Sudan schools reopen

In this week’s UN Catch-Up: a veteran aid worker’s take on the distressing scale of the humanitarian crisis in Southern Madagascar – it’s on the “periphery of famine”, he tells us, and not for the first time.

There’s an alert too from WHO on Africa where a “third wave “of coronavirus infections is feared, along with some good news – and some not so good - from South Sudan, where schools have reopened after lockdown, and positive news from the United States, which has decided to lift patent restrictions on COVID vaccines. 

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USA: Rights expert decries wave of anti-protest laws ‘spreading through the country’

A UN independent human rights expert has slammed new laws in several American states aimed at suppressing racial justice protests and the Black Lives Matter movement, according to a statement on Wednesday. 

The planet’s on ‘red alert’ UN chief warns leaders at President Biden’s climate summit

World leaders must act now and put the planet on a green path because “we are at the verge of the abyss”, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Thursday in his address to the virtual climate summit convened by United States President Joseph Biden. 

News in Brief 21 April 2021

  • Michelle Bachelet on ‘momentous’ guilty verdict in George Floyd case
  • More than 5.2 million cases of COVID-19 infection in a week: WHO
  • A malaria-free future is possible: Guterres
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UN rights chief welcomes verdict in George Floyd murder case 

The guilty verdict against Derek Chauvin in the George Floyd murder trial has been welcomed by the UN human rights chief, who said on Wednesday that “any other result would have been a travesty of justice”. 

USA: Shackling of aged and infirmed inmate, Mumia Abu-Jamal, ‘deplorable’ say UN rights experts

A group of UN human rights experts expressed serious concerns on Tuesday over the treatment and wellbeing of an African American prisoner who has been reportedly shackled to his hospital bed, and denied visits from his family, or access to lawyers.  
 

UN experts urge US to align anti-terrorism programme with international law

A so-called “Rewards for Justice” programme in the United States is violating the human rights of some of the individuals it targets, independent UN human rights experts said on Wednesday. 

Guterres calls on US to lead global vaccination plan effort, climate action, welcoming Blinken to Headquarters

The Secretary-General welcomed a recommitted and re-engaged United States administration to United Nations Headquarters on Monday, albeit virtually, calling on it to play a leadership role in drawing up a global vaccination plan to beat COVID-19, and make the upcoming COP26 a watershed moment for climate action.

US death penalty must be abolished, rights experts urge President Biden

President Biden should do everything in his power to end death row executions in the United States, UN-appointed independent rights experts said on Thursday.

Environmental racism in Louisiana’s ‘Cancer Alley’, must end, say UN human rights experts

The further industrialization of so-called “Cancer Alley” in the southern United States, known for its pollution-emitting chemical plants, should be halted according to a large group of independent UN human rights experts, who on Tuesday branded it a form of “environmental racism”.