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See the recording of Belize's review at the UPR 2018

  • 13 November 2018 |
  • Published in Notices

See Belize's review by peers at the 3rd cycle of the Universal Periodic Review.

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12 Nov 2018 -  UPR of Belize
- National Report of Belize: A/HRC/WG.6/31/BLZ/1
- Compilation prepared by the OHCHR in accordance with paragraph 15 (b) of the annex to HRC resolution 5/1 and paragraph 5 of the annex to HRC resolution 16/21: A/HRC/WG.6/31/BLZ/2
- Summary prepared by the OHCHR in accordance with paragraph 15 (c) of the annex to HRC resolution 5/1 and paragraph 5 of the annex to HRC resolution 16/21: A/HRC/WG.6/31/BLZ/3

play  Recording of the live event ( 12 November 2018)

 

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On Kristallnacht anniversary, UN chief urges renewed fight against 'crime' of anti-Semitism

Political leaders have not yet taken up their responsibility to speak out loudly against neo-Nazism, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said on Friday, warning that anti-Semitism is on the rise.

Meeting Norbert Strauss on the 80th anniversary of the Nazi Kristallnacht attack on Germany's Jews, the Secretary-General said that testimony from Holocaust survivors needed to be heard anew, and fully understood as an ever-present reminder of what can happen if societies let down their guard. 

“Anti-Semitism is back and it needs to be fought as the crime it is,” Mr. Guterres said. He called on leaders and Governments to “clearly denounce and make evident the real risk of anti-Semitism in our societies today.”

In an intimate meeting in his office at UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Guterres listened as Mr. Strauss recounted what it was like as an 11-year-old, to witness attacks and desecration of Jewish sites and monuments in Germany, and ultimately to flee the country.

Today’s meeting took place on the anniversary of Kristallnacht or “Night of Broken Glass".

The name Kristallnacht comes from the shards of broken glass found on streets after windows of Jewish-owned buildings and synagogues were smashed during that night of violence in 1938.

Mr. Guterres said that he was particularly touched by the imagery, since crystals had  been symbols of beauty,  horribly transformed since then, now coming to symbolize “the end of the age of denial about the Holocaust.”

Mr. Strauss was among a group meeting the UN chief, including members of non-profit organizations advocating for the Jewish community. They gifted Mr. Guterres books related to the Holocaust.  “Only the truth can allow humanity to progress,” Mr. Guterres said, encouraging young people to continue to learn about history. “If we hide the past, we will never be able to overcome it.”

The visit comes just days after an anti-Semitic gunman went on the rampage in the US city of Pittsburgh, killing 11 Jewish worshippers in a mostly-Jewish suburb, while they attended Shabat services at the Tree of Life Synagogue. The UN chief condemned the "horrendous act" noting that anti-Semitism is the "oldest and more permanent kind of hatred" to have endured "in the history of humankind". 

Also on Friday, the UN Department of Public Information (DPI) held an educators’ workshop titledPractical Tools for Celebrating Diversity and Antidiscrimination, in observance of  the Kristallnacht Pogrom and the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The event featured Facing History & Ourselves and a new online resource for teachers called Stories That Move – a  toolbox for antidiscrimination.

 

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US must abide by humanitarian refugee accords: UN refugee agency

Responding to United States President Donald Trump’s proclamation which would deny political asylum to migrants crossing illegally into the country,  the UN refugee agency UNHCR, released a statement on Friday saying that the US must abide by international refugee protection accords.

The Presidential Proclamation would reportedly ban migrants applying for asylum outside official ports of entry, which will impact migrants attempting to illegally enter the country from the southern border with Mexico, although legal challenges are expected to follow the move.

The agency noted that, among the people in Central America and Mexico on the move northward today, many are fleeing life-threatening violence or persecution and are in need of international protection: “UNHCR expects all countries, including the United States, to make sure any person in need of refugee protection and humanitarian assistance is able to receive both promptly and without obstruction, in accordance with the 1967 refugee Protocol to which the United States is a party."

The statement points out that it is unrealistic to expect all asylum seekers to present themselves at the border and request protection, because the reality of refugee flight is complex and requires management in a structured way with dignified reception arrangements.

Official US southern border ports of entry have had a long-standing lack of sufficient capacity to receive migrants, which is forcing many vulnerable asylum-seekers to turn in desperation to smugglers and cross the border irregularly.

Many asylum-seeking families, says UNHCR, who are making this desperate choice, are not trying to evade border authorities.

Offering to support the United States, to guarantee that any person fleeing life-threatening violence or persecution is able to reach safe ground and is able to have their claim reviewed, the UNHCR statement concludes with the message that national security and dignified reception of refugees and asylum-seekers are not mutually exclusive, but rather mutually reinforcing.

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UN Report: Hunger and obesity in Latin America and the Caribbean compounded by inequality

For the third consecutive year, the number of those chronically hungry has increased in Latin America and the Caribbean, while 250 million – 60 percent of the regional population - are obese or overweight, representing the biggest  threat to nutritional health, said the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Wednesday.

Speaking at the launch of the 2018  Panorama of Food and Nutrition Security report in Santiago, Chile, FAO’s Regional Representative, Julio Berdegue said it was an “appalling” threat to health overall, affecting women and indigenous groups the most.

The Panorama, published annually by FAO, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the World Food Programme (WFP), explores strategies to halt the health threats posed by hunger and malnutrition in Latin America and the Caribbean.

According to the report, hunger, malnutrition, lack of micronutrients, and obesity largely affect lower income families, women, indigenous communities, Afro-descendants and rural families.

Principle causes of malnutrition amongst the most vulnerable, can be traced back to changes the food systems have experienced in the region, from production to consumption. With a greater strain on the demand for nutrient-rich food like milk and meats, many resort to less costly options which are often higher in fat, sugar and salt.

newsicon  [ full story on UN News ]

 


 

Infographics from the 2018 FAO report:

 

hungerlac18 

obesity facts

 

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MESSAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY TO END IMPUNITY FOR CRIMES AGAINST JOURNALISTS

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

2 November 2018

In just over a decade, more than a thousand journalists have been killed while carrying out their indispensable work. Nine out of ten cases are unresolved, with no one held accountable.

Female journalists are often at greater risk of being targeted not only for their reporting but also because of their gender, including through the threat of sexual violence.

This year alone, at least 88 journalists have been killed.

Many thousands more have been attacked, harassed, detained or imprisoned on spurious charges, without due process.

This is outrageous. This should not become the new normal.

When journalists are targeted, societies as a whole pay a price.

I am deeply troubled by the growing number of attacks and the culture of impunity.

I call on Governments and the international community to protect journalists and create the conditions they need to do their work.

On this day, I pay tribute to journalists who do their jobs every day despite intimidation and threats. Their work – and that of their fallen colleagues -- reminds us that truth never dies. Neither must our commitment to the fundamental right to freedom of expression.

Reporting is not a crime.

Together, let us stand up for journalists, for truth and for justice.


 

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2,300 migrant children in Central American ‘caravan’ need protection, UNICEF says

As some 7,000 mostly-Honduran migrants continue their journey northwards toward the United States, governments must prioritize the needs of migrant children when it comes to applying immigration laws and procedures, said the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Friday.

Highlighting the vulnerability of children on the move, the agency advised all transit and destination countries, to consider alternatives to immigration detention.

According to the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR), thousands of men, women, and children, including unaccompanied children, are still making their way through Mexico toward the southern border of the US.

Their journey is arduous, especially when opting for irregular migration routes. The dangers of inclement weather, including soaring temperatures and lack of shelter are high, especially for children, say UN agencies.

Some have already fallen ill or are suffering from dehydration, said UNICEF, while the danger of extortion by criminal smuggling gangs, or threats of robbery and sexual violence are also present; perils from which many are already fleeing.

‘When I saw our house burning…it was time to flee’ Eduardo, 16

Eduardo, a sixteen-year-old from Honduras, told UNHCR that the gang violence in his hometown of Colon had become so intense, he felt he had no other option but to leave the country.

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UN Chief: ‘full respect’ needed for national control of borders as human caravan moves through Mexico

With more than 7,000 Central-American refugees now on the march through Mexico towards the southern border of the United States in search of safety and work, all countries involved are being urged by the UN to liaise with key agencies on the ground providing support.

Answering questions from reporters at the daily press briefing on Monday, UN Deputy Spokesperson, Farhan Haq, said that the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), had been boosting resources on the ground, as the caravan of mainly Honduran refugees and migrants made its way north, across the border between Guatemala and Mexico.

Mr. Haq said that UN Secretary-General António Guterres was urging all parties to abide by international law, including the principle of “full respect for countries’ rights to manage their own borders.”

According to media reports, what started as a small group of under 200 just a few days ago, has grown considerably. Mr. Haq told journalists that “it is estimated that the caravan comprises some 7,233 persons, many of whom intend to continue the march north.”

US President Donald Trump has reportedly responded to the march, by threatening to cut off foreign aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador should the caravan of people fleeing their homeland, attempt to cross into the US illegally.

Earlier this week, a UN rights expert urged Member States not to prioritize security concerns over the basic human rights of migrants and refugees.

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World population set to grow another 2.2 billion by 2050

The world’s population is set to grow by 2.2 billion between now and 2050, the UN said on Wednesday, and more than half of that growth - 1.3 billion - is likely to be in sub-Saharan Africa, where women’s rights are hampered by limited access to healthcare and education, along with “entrenched gender discrimination”.

Monica Ferro, Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) in Geneva, said the trend globally is towards smaller families, indicating that more people are making choices about exactly how many children they want, or can afford to raise.

Despite the gradual transition to lower fertility rates, which began in Europe in the late 19th century, no country can claim that all their citizens enjoy reproductive rights at all times, Ms Ferro told journalists at a press briefing. “No matter if it is a high fertility-rate country or low fertility-rate country, in both of them, you will find individuals and couples who say they don’t have the number of children they want. They either have too many or too few.”

In 43 countries, women have more than 4 children

According to UNFPA’s State of World Population 2018, there are 43 countries where women have more than four or more children, and 38 of these are in Africa.

In all but five East African countries, fewer than half of all women surveyed, said they would prefer not to have any more children.

If UNFPA’s predictions are correct, Africa’s share of the world population will grow from 17 per cent in 2017, to 26 per cent in 2050.

Staying with the African continent, fertility rates are “significantly lower” in cities than in rural areas, the report indicates. In Ethiopia, for example, women have around 2.1 children in cities, whereas they have around five in the rest of the country.

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Message on World Mental Health Day 2018

Health encompasses both physical and mental well-being.

Yet for too long, mental health has been mostly an afterthought, despite its overwhelming impacts on communities and young people, everywhere.

This year’s World Mental Health Day focuses on young people.

One in five young people will experience a mental health problem this year. Half of all mental health conditions start by the age of 14. Most cases are, however, undetected and untreated.

Poor mental health during adolescence has an impact on educational achievement and increases the risk of alcohol and substance use and violent behaviour. Suicide is a leading cause of death in young people.

Millions of people are caught up in conflict and disasters, putting them at risk of a range of long-term mental health problems. Violence against women -- physical, sexual and psychological -- results in lasting scars, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Yet despite these challenges, a great deal of mental health conditions are both preventable and treatable, especially if we start looking after our mental health at an early age.

The 2030 Agenda is clear: We must leave no one behind. Yet, those struggling with mental health problems are still being marginalized.

Healthy societies require greater integration of mental health into broader health and social care systems, under the umbrella of universal health coverage.

The United Nations is committed to creating a world where by 2030 everyone, everywhere has someone to turn to in support of their mental health, in a world free of stigma and discrimination.

If we change our attitude to mental health – we change the world. It is time to act on mental health.

 

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Peace is at risk and violated in many places, but ‘we will not give up,’ says UN chief Guterres

On Friday, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres cited the strong correlation between the International Day of Peace and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a basis for peace.

According to the UN chief, the Declaration, which turns 70 this year, provides a reminder that peace takes root when people are free from hunger, poverty and oppression and can thrive and prosper.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by UN Member States in 2015, also aim to serve this purpose by building a peaceful world through economic and social development for all with guaranteed human rights.

And yet, “when we are celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we know that human rights are violated in so many parts of the world, we even know that the human rights agenda is losing ground,” he said at the ceremonial ringing of the Peace Bell to commemorate Peace Day.

“But we don’t give up because respect for human rights and human dignity is a basic condition for peace,” Mr. Guterres stressed. “We are here because we are determined, and we do not give up.” 

“Peace is at risk. Peace is violated in so many places. But we will not give up,” he underscored.

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 What is Peace and Security?

 

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Feature photos

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