‘World Has Never Seen a Threat to Human Rights of This Scope,’ UN Rights Chief Says of Climate Emergency

“The window of opportunity for action may be closing—but there is still time to act.”

byAndrea Germanos

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, listens to the meeting introduction before delivering opening remarks while hosting a debate on key human rights issues in the country at ICS—Instituto de Ciências Sociais da Universidade de Lisboa on April 29, 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo: Horacio Villalobos#Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

“We are burning up our future—literally,” the United Nations human rights chief said Monday, as she called the climate crisis a “rapidly growing and global threat to human rights.”

In fact, said U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, “The world has never seen a threat to human rights of this scope.”

Bachelet’s warning came in her remarks to the Human Rights Council on the opening day of the body’s September session in Geneva.

No corner of the globe is untouched by the impacts of the warming planet, said Bachelet, noting that the crisis is already worsening hunger, conflict, and extreme weather. Among the current manifestations are the burning of the Amazon rain forest, the full impact of which “may never be known.”

While the fires’ impact may “catastrophic” on “humanity as a whole,” their worst effects, Bachelet said, “are suffered by the women, men, and children who live in these areas—among them, many indigenous peoples.”

The high commissioner also pointed to Hurricane Dorian, which devastated the Bahamas last week. The storm “accelerated with unprecedented speed over an ocean warmed by climate shifts, becoming one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes ever to hit land,” she said, and took “a terrible toll on human life.” But worse could be yet to come for the Bahamas and other Caribbean nations, she said, as rising sea levels may submerge portions of the countries and unleash “an inestimable loss for humanity.”

Laying out some of the impacts of the crisis, she said:

WHO expects climate change to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year between 2030 and 2050—from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea, and heat stress alone. In many nations, chaotic weather patterns and other manifestations of our environmental emergency are already reversing major development gains; exacerbating conflict, displacement and social tension; hampering economic growth; and shaping increasingly harsh inequalities.

Environmental human rights defenders are performing “a great service… to humanity,” said Bachelet, yet they face violence and abuse, particularly in Latin America. One activist she noted by name was Swedish teen Greta Thunberg. Bachelet said she was “disheartened” by the verbal abuse levied at Thunberg and other young activists, “who galvanize support for prevention of the harm their generation may bear.”

“The demands made by environmental defenders and activists are compelling,” Bachelet added, “and we should respect, protect, and fulfill their rights.”

Bachelet stressed the urgency of climate action, saying, “The window of opportunity for action may be closing—but there is still time to act.” She pointed to the U.N.’s Climate Action Summit later this month as a moment when states should commit to “the strongest possible action to prevent climate change, and to promote the resilience and rights of your people in dealing with environmental harm.”

“Effective action on climate requires bringing the uncommitted and unconvinced into a shared, just, and truly international effort,” said Bachelet. “Human rights can help galvanize that movement.”

Posted in Environment, UN0 Comments

Leaked UN Draft Report Warns Rising, Warming Oceans ‘Poised to Unleash Misery’ Worldwide

The assessment details anticipated declines in fish stocks as well as increases in damage by superstorms and displacement due to rising seas

by: Jessica Corbett

A dock sits damaged near the Statue of Liberty

A dock sits damaged near the Statue of Liberty, which remained closed to the public six weeks after Hurricane Sandy on December 13, 2012 in New York City. (Photo: John Moore/Getty Images)

A draft United Nations report warns “the same oceans that nourished human evolution are poised to unleash misery on a global scale unless the carbon pollution destabilizing Earth’s marine environment is brought to heel,” according to Agence France-Presse, which exclusively reported on the 900-page scientific assessment Thursday.

The forthcoming report from a U.N. body that assesses science related to the human-caused planetary emergency is due to be released to the public Sep. 25, after diplomats and experts meet in Monaco to approve the final Summary for Policymakers.

AFP, which obtained a draft of the U.N. assessment, reported:

Destructive changes already set in motion could see a steady decline in fish stocks, a hundred-fold or more increase in the damages caused by superstorms, and hundreds of millions of people displaced by rising seas, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) “special report” on oceans and Earth’s frozen zones, known as the cryosphere.

As the 21st century unfolds, melting glaciers will first give too much and then too little to billions who depend on them for fresh water, it finds.

Without deep cuts to manmade emissions, at least 30 percent of the northern hemisphere’s surface permafrost could melt by century’s end, unleashing billions of tonnes of carbon and accelerating global warming even more.

The Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate will follow the IPCC’s recent reports about what the world would look like with 1.5°C of warmingabove pre-industrial levels—the lower target of the global Paris climate agreement—and the need for transformative changes to land use to address both planetary heating and hunger.

In a statement earlier this year, Debra Roberts, co-chair of IPCC Working Group II—which focuses on the vulnerability of socio-economic and natural systems to the climate crisis—noted that the U.N. body’s October report showed the broad benefits to people and natural ecosystems of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

“The Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate takes this story one step further by evaluating how human and natural communities with be affected by the impacts of climate change on two earth systems that touch all of our lives directly or indirectly, the ocean and the frozen areas of the world,” Roberts said. “It also assesses how we can set the course for a more sustainable and equitable future by reducing or better managing this impact.”

While those working on the IPCC’s ocean report aim to provide the international community with yet another tool to help avert the most catastrophic potential consequences of rising temperatures, AFP pointed out that the crucial advice for policymakers will be released “too late to be considered by world leaders gathering two days earlier for a summit convened by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to extract stronger national commitments in confronting the climate crisis.”

When it comes to the September summit, which is focused on the key goals of the Paris accord, AFP reported that “Guterres may be disappointed by what the world’s major greenhouse gas emitters put on the table, according to experts tracking climate politics in China, the United States, the European Union, and India.”

“The Big Four—accounting for nearly 60 percent of global fossil fuel-based emissions—all face devastating ocean- and ice-related impacts, but none seem prepared just announce more ambitious goals for purging carbon from their economies,” AFPcontinued, detailing some of those impacts based on the IPCC draft.

By 2050, many low-lying megacities and small island nations will experience “extreme sea level events” every year, even under the most optimistic emissions reduction scenarios, the report concludes.

By 2100, “annual flood damages are expected to increase by two to three orders of magnitude,” or 100 to 1,000 fold, the draft summary for policymakers says.

Even if the world manages to cap global warming at 2°C, the global ocean waterline will rise enough to displace more than a quarter of a billion people.

Experts are divided on the anticipated timeline for such mass displacement due to sea level rise. However, Ben Strauss, CEO and chief scientist of the U.S.-based research group Climate Central, told AFP that “even if the number is 100 or 50 million by 2100, that’s still a major disruption and a lot of human misery.”

Strauss, whose research informs some of the IPCC report’s conclusions, added that “if we warm the planet by 2°C by 2100 we will only be at the beginning of a runaway train ride of sea level rise.”

In an op-ed published Thursday by Reuters, Greenpeace International executive director Jennifer Morgan declared that “tackling the climate emergency and protecting our oceans go hand-in-hand,” noting that “the oceans naturally take in huge amounts of carbon dioxide and are a key defense against the worsening impacts of climate change.

Morgan called on world leaders attending the U.N. summit in September to “commit to adopting a strong Global Ocean Treaty in 2020.” She wrote:

The scope of this new global agreement could be huge: almost half of the planet. The High Seas, oceans beyond borders, cover more space on our planet than all continents combined. Sadly, today these international waters are being ruthlessly exploited. In addition to climate change, pressures from overfishing, deep sea mining exploration, oil drilling, and plastic pollution are pushing our oceans to the verge of collapse. Only around 1 percent of the global seas are properly protected. There is no effective legal instrument that allows the creation of ocean sanctuaries—areas off-limits to harmful human activities—on international waters.

“Scientists are clear that we need to protect at least 30 percent of our global oceans by 2030 if we are to safeguard wildlife and to help mitigate the impacts of climate change,” Morgan added. “But that will only happen if an ambitious ocean treaty is adopted fast and opens the door to creating effective ocean sanctuaries in international waters.”

Posted in Environment, UN0 Comments

UN experts urge India to end ‘collective punishment’ in Kashmir

By Agence France-Presse 

A group of UN human rights experts on Thursday urged India to end the communications blackout imposed on Kashmir, warning it amounted to “collective punishment” and risked exacerbating regional tensions.

They voiced alarm over the measures imposed by India since it revoked autonomous rule in occupied Kashmir on Aug 5, including a near-total communications blackout.

“The shutdown of the internet and telecommunication networks, without justification from the government, are inconsistent with the fundamental norms of necessity and proportionality,” the five experts, who are independent and do not speak for the world body, said in a statement.

“The blackout is a form of collective punishment of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, without even a pretext of a precipitating offence,” they said, describing the restrictions imposed as “intrinsically disproportionate”.

The experts also voiced concern about the curfew imposed across the region, with “massive numbers of troops (brought in) to enforce restrictions on the freedom of movement and of peaceful assembly, particularly in the Kashmir Valley.”

Kashmir has waged a three-decade long armed rebellion against Indian rule with tens of thousands of lives, mostly civilians, lost in the conflict.

Ahead of its August 5 announcement, India rushed tens of thousands of extra troops to the restive region to join 500,000 already in the valley, and imposed a strict clampdown fearing further unrest.

According to security and government forces, at least 4,000 people have been detained in Indian-occupied Kashmir.

The UN experts said they had received information suggesting an increase in arrests of political figures, journalists, human rights activists, protesters and others.

And they said they were deeply concerned by reports that security forces have been conducting night raids on private homes, rounding up young people.

“Such detentions could constitute serious human rights violations,” the experts said, calling on the authorities to thoroughly investigate all such allegations and to ensure that any confirmed perpetrators are held responsible.

They also expressed grave concern over allegations that the whereabouts of some of those detained was unknown, warning of “the general heightened risk of enforced disappearances, which may proliferate against the backdrop of mass arrests and restricted access to the internet and other communications networks”.

They also noted the “excessive use of force against protesters, including the use of live ammunition.”

“India has the responsibility to use the minimum force necessary when policing protests,” the experts said, insisting that deadly force could only be used as a “last resort and to protect life.”

Posted in India, Pakistan & Kashmir, UN0 Comments

US and Russia trade barbs at UN over ‘new arms race’

By Agence France-Presse 

Russia and the US traded accusations at the United Nations on Thursday of risking a new arms race as China said it would play no part in any new missile deal.

The United States and Moscow ditched the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty after blaming each other for violating the accord.

Deputy Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Dmitry Polyanskiy told the Security Council that Washington’s testing of a ground-launched missile earlier this week showed “America is ready for an arms race.”

Russia had requested the meeting after the US tested a type of missile that was banned under the 1987 INF agreement, which restricted such medium-range weapons.

Polyanskiy added that Russia, on the other hand, was ready for “serious dialogue” over arms control, accusing European countries of tolerating the US’s actions.

“The Russian Federation and China would still like a world where the United States exercises self-restraint while they continue their arms buildups unabated and unabashed,” said his US counterpart Jonathan Cohen.

“US flight tests to develop a ground-launched, conventional capability are neither provocative nor destabilizing. We will not stand idle,” he added.

The missile tested on Sunday was a version of the nuclear-capable Tomahawk cruise missile. The ground-launched version of the Tomahawk was removed from service after the INF was ratified.

The US launch came weeks after a deadly explosion at a Russian testing site, which Western experts linked to Moscow’s attempts to develop a nuclear-powered missile.

The blast killed five scientists and caused a spike in radiation levels, although Russian authorities have remained tightlipped on the nature of the explosion.

“What exactly happened on August 8th in Russia? What caused the explosion, what system was it, and what purpose does that system serve?” Cohen added.

He said the US was interested in “serious arms control” that includes China and “goes beyond treaties focused on limited types of nuclear weapons or missile ranges.”

But China’s UN ambassador, Zhang Jun, said Beijing “has no interest” in being part of any arms control treaty with Russia and the US.

Posted in USA, Russia, UN0 Comments

To Prevent ‘Climate Apartheid Scenario’

To Prevent ‘Climate Apartheid Scenario’ Where Rich Escape and Poor Suffer, UN Report Issues Urgent Call for Global Economic Justice

“While people in poverty are responsible for just a fraction of global emissions, they will bear the brunt of climate change, and have the least capacity to protect themselves.”

The Blue Cut Fire roars along side Highway 138 burning vegetation and power poles on August 16, 2016 in Phelan, California. (Photo: Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

A scathing United Nations report released Tuesday warned that the world is hurtling toward a “climate apartheid scenario” in which the wealthiest members of society will be able to buy their way to safety while hundreds of millions suffer from environmental catastrophe.

“Economic prosperity and environmental sustainability are fully compatible but require decoupling economic well-being and poverty reduction from fossil fuel emissions.”
—Philip Alston, U.N. special rapporteur

“Perversely, while people in poverty are responsible for just a fraction of global emissions, they will bear the brunt of climate change, and have the least capacity to protect themselves,” U.N. special rapporteur Philip Alston, author of the new report, said in a statement.

Even if warming is held to 1.5°C by the end of the century, Alston said, “tens of millions will be impoverished, leading to widespread displacement and hunger.”

Alston’s 21-page report (pdf), which will be presented to the U.N. human rights council on Friday, predicts that millions of people across the planet could “face malnutrition due to devastating drought” over the next few decades due to the climate crisis, “and many more will have to choose between starvation and migration.”

To prevent this nightmare scenario, the report calls for “a fundamental shift in the global economy” aimed at protecting vulnerable populations from climate impacts while dramatically slashing carbon emissions.

“Maintaining the current course is a recipe for economic catastrophe,” Alston said in a statement. “Economic prosperity and environmental sustainability are fully compatible but require decoupling economic well-being and poverty reduction from fossil fuel emissions.”

“Climate change… could push more than 120 million more people into poverty by 2030 and will have the most severe impact in poor countries, regions, and the places poor people live and work,” Alston added. “We risk a ‘climate apartheid’ scenario where the wealthy pay to escape overheating, hunger, and conflict while the rest of the world is left to suffer.”

The report specifically calls for a “robust social safety net and a well-managed transition to a green economy” and points to growing support for the Green New Deal in the United States and other nations as a positive development.

But there is alarming evidence that many countries are moving in the wrong direction. The report highlights U.S. President Donald Trump’s efforts to roll back environmental regulations and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s deforestation in the Amazon as two prominent examples.

“Time is running out to limit global warming,” the report warns, “and states are failing to meet even their current inadequate commitments.”

Alston closes his report with a harsh assessment of U.N. human rights bodies, which he accuses of pushing “forms of incremental managerialism and proceduralism which are entirely disproportionate to the urgency and magnitude of the threat.”

“Ticking boxes,” the report states, “will not save humanity or the planet from impending disaster.”

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Lying by Omission Is Still Lying


There is no doubt that lying in any form and for questionable reasons is not an accepted value. It can cause serious consequences on those who are the object of lies. It some cases it can cost lives. A person caught lying on a witness stand in court can face criminal charges.

Lying by omission – that is willfully withdrawing important factual information – is no less serious than outright disinformation. When it comes to Venezuela today any form of omission of relevant information must be considered reckless.

The Washington Post in its article of 21 June titled “UN human rights chief meets with Venezuela’s Guaidó, Maduro” [1] provides a good example of lying by omission.

In its 22-paragraphs long article clearly the focus is on Guaidó. However, some half-statements – the other half being what is not said – are of concern because they do not give a balanced understanding of the event that took place in Venezuela with the visit of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.

The Washington Post does not seem to value the importance that the visit may have in deescalating the dangerous US-Venezuela political tension at the international level. On the contrary, it finds the space to state that “Bachelet issued a tough statement criticizing Maduro’s government” and quotes from a statement that Ms. Bachelet gave last March:

I am also deeply concerned about the shrinking of the democratic space, especially the continued criminalization of peaceful protest and dissent.

That quote is accurate. What the Washington Post omits is something else Ms. Bachelet said in that same March statement:

Although this pervasive and devastating economic and social crisis began before the imposition of the first economic sanctions in 2017, I am concerned that the recent sanctions on financial transfers related to the sale of Venezuelan oil within the United States may contribute to aggravating the economic crisis, with possible repercussions on people’s basic rights and wellbeing.“

Although that statement has also being criticized for not being totally accurate, [2] its omission is even more striking because the Washington Post would have had an opportunity to introduce a major relevant fact such as the extent of the numerous US sanctions on Venezuela. The Washington Post makes no reference at all in the whole article to the sanctions as if they did not exist or have negative impacts on the country. The first US sanctions were imposed in March 2015 by the Obama administration and have dramatically escalated to become a virtual economic and financial blockade. This is a widely documented fact easily accessible to the Washington Post journalist and editor.

Further, the Washington Post states,

“[Ms. Bachelet’s] predecessor, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, was repeatedly denied access to the country [Venezuela] for criticizing what he said was the government’s refusal to recognize a humanitarian crisis.”

The Post journalist does not say when that actually happened. But we do have on video record Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein saying

I welcome the oral invitation of the government [of Venezuela] to my office to provide technical support for the implementation of the universal periodic review recommendations.” [3]

The invitation was dismissed in that same declaration that was highly critical of the Venezuelan government, and was delivered at the UN Security Council presided by former US ambassador at the UN Nikki Haley and with OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro present.

However, that is not the only omission. Mr. Hussein made reference to the invitation on November 13, 2017 but the Washington Post does not mention that UN special rapporteur Alfred De Zayas visited Venezuela invited by the Venezuelan government from November 26 to December 4, 2017 – arrangement that surely must have been worked out during Mr. Hussein tenure at the UN – and gave his official report to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2018, one month after Mr. Hussein ended his period at the UN. [4] In it Mr. de Zayas reports that there is no humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, among other facts.

This type of media reporting that gives only part of the facts while omitting others is misleading,irresponsible, unprofessional, and reckless, and can only be construed as a sign of a biased and prejudiced view on Venezuela. I was able to find these relevant facts after a quick Internet search. And so can a professional journalist writing for alleged serious media. It only requires the will and the integrity to do so. Maybe the day will come when a journalist or editor can be prosecuted for posting articles that contain lies.


Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Nino Pagliccia is an activist and freelance writer based in Vancouver. He is a retired researcher from the University of British Columbia, Canada. He is a Venezuelan-Canadian who follows and writes about international relations with a focus on the Americas. He is the editor of the book “Cuba Solidarity in Canada – Five Decades of People-to-People Foreign Relations” (2014). He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.


[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/un-human-rights-chief-meets-with-venezuelas-guaido-maduro/2019/06/21/04353b5a-942f-11e9-956a-88c291ab5c38_story.html

[2] https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14401

[3] http://webtv.un.org/d/watch/zeid-ra’ad-al-hussein-ohchr-on-the-situation-in-venezuela-security-council-arria-formula-meeting/5643399460001/

[4] https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G18/239/31/PDF/G1823931.pdf

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UN Secretary General Guterres ‘Has Hidden Behind Protocol’ over Khashoggi, No UN Investigation into Murder


Agnes Callamard tells MEE that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and other UN institutions should have been more proactive in aftermath of journalist’s killing

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “has hidden behind protocol” rather than push for an investigation into the murder of Saudi journalistJamal Khashoggi, the UN special rapporteur who probed the killing has told Middle East Eye.

Speaking on the sidelines of the 41st UN Human Rights Council, which she will address on Wednesday, Agnes Callamard said Khashoggi could be “a model case” for the UN to show that it takes targeted killings seriously.

It could have acted as a mediator, allowing better coordination during the investigation of the brutal killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October, and between the parties involved, she said.

Instead, the inaction of Gutteres and various UN bodies has “poisoned” what was already a terrible crime.

“In my view, the secretary-general could have set a more proactive process for himself and the UN and he chose otherwise,” Callamard said.

“I think by now they must understand that inaction and silence and hoping that it is going to disappear is just not going to work with this particular killing.”

Last week, Callamard, a human rights expert who serves as the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, released a nearly 100-page report into the murder of the US resident who wrote for the Washington Post and Middle East Eye.

The inquiry, based on more than 120 interviews, concluded that there was credible evidence that the killing was premeditated and that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other high-level officials were liable.

‘Sacrificial animal’

It also gave the fullest public account so far of the 59-year-old’s final moments inside the consulate where a team of Saudis were recorded discussing dismembering him and referring to him as a “sacrificial animal” in the minutes before he arrived, according to Callamard’s inquiry.

The Saudi Human Rights Commission rejected the report’s findings, saying it was biased and that Callamard breached UN principles of impartiality, objectivity and professionalism.

The crime, she told MEE on Tuesday, was exceptional in its brutality, yet unexceptional because it represents a pattern of other killings that have been the focus of UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions.

“So it was little bit paradoxical that there was no more commitment to find a meaningful role for the UN when confronted with a crime that was, by November or December, becoming an international crisis,” she said.

It was the inaction, she said, that drove her to pursue her inquiry.

“I could not understand why the UN – the secretary-general, the Security Council, the Human Rights Council, the General Assembly – have not moved forward with more resolve.”

Now, she said, she hopes the UN will hear her call, and push for an international investigation.

“I’m not suggesting they intervene in all [killings], but they should intervene in a killing that is demonstrated to be an international killing touching on many aspects of international law,” she said.

Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi’s fiancee who spoke with Callamard on a panel hosted by the Canadian government at the UN on Tuesday, said it was “scandalous” that high-level officials may be implicated.

“I don’t want this significance to remain on a piece of paper, or to remain on the shelves of the UN,” she told a packed room of diplomats, NGO representatives and reporters. “If the UN will not do the follow up on such murders, who will do it?”

MEE contacted Guterres’ office for comment but had not received a response at the time of publication.

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UN to Launch Global Campaign Against Criminalization of Indigenous Peoples


Vicky Tauli-Corpuz said the idea for the Global Campaign Against the Criminalization and Impunity of Indigenous Peoples was inspired by research and interviews she conducted during the preparation of her 2018 report on attacks and criminalization of Indigenous Peoples.

“It’s been observed and concluded that the issue of criminalization of Indigenous Peoples is a global crisis,” Tauli-Corpuz said, referring to the report, as she announced the campaign at the U.N. 18th Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous issues.

In 2018, human rights watchdog Global Witness reported that almost 1,000 environmental defenders have been killed since 2010 and that in 2017 at least 207 land and environmental activists – almost half of them Indigenous – were targeted and murdered for defending their forests, rivers, wildlife and homes against destructive industries.

Trumped up charges, imprisonment, harassment and intimidation are often the result when Indigenous people speak up against government-supported private companies investing in large-scale projects on their traditional lands, Tauli-Corpuz said. Such projects are often launched without discussion and without the free, prior and informed consent of customary landholders.

In addition to threats related to extractive industries, agribusiness, infrastructure, hydroelectric dams and logging, Indigenous peoples are often driven out when government conservation laws define their livelihood activities as illegal, she said.

Tauli-Corpuz, a member of the Igorot peoples of northern Philippines, has herself been a target of false charges and harassment. The Philippine government accused her of terrorism and more recently said she is a communist who has infiltrated the U.N., she said.

Defamation and smear campaigns through social media are common in the lead up to false criminal charges, Tauli-Corpuz said. Often, Indigenous people are falsely portrayed as members of criminal gangs, guerrillas or terrorists.

Joan Carling, a member of the Kankanaey tribe of the northern region of Cordillera in the Philippines, was placed on a terrorist list at the same time as Tauli-Corpuz, an action that drew sharp criticism from the U.N., which issued a strong rebuke in March 2018 in defense of Carling and Tauli-Corpuz.

Carling, who received the 2018 Champions of the Earth lifetime achievement award from UN Environment, is the co-convener of the Indigenous Peoples’ Major Group (IPMG) for Sustainable Development.

The new Global Campaign Against the Criminalization and Impunity of Indigenous Peoples will prevent, analyze, expose and reduce acts of criminalization and impunity, Carling said.

It will be run exclusively by Indigenous peoples to ensure the safety of those unjustly targeted,

“It should be led and managed by Indigenous peoples themselves because they will be the ones who will understand the social and cultural implications,” Tauli-Corpuz said.

The campaign will also include human rights monitoring systems. Other activities will include calls to action, liaising with news media, networking and collaborating with non-governmental organizations.

Although many current organizations address cases of individual human rights violations, the U.N. campaign will have unique community protection and prevention mechanisms, Tauli-Corpuz said.

“This is a very good idea,” said Daniel Kobei, founder and executive director of the Ogiek Peoples’ Development Program in Kenya, which works to secure human and land rights throughout Africa.

Kobei said he was threatened last month with bankruptcy by the Kenyan government over a campaign to protect lands in the Mau Forest in the Rift Valley. They have since tried to discredit his organization, Kobei said.

“We don’t need to wait until people are dead to act,” he added.

In Brazil, the Ashaninka people face ongoing threats to their land from oil, mining and timber operations. Since 2000, they have also been subject to threats related to drug traffickers operating illegally on their land, said Benki Piyako, an Ashaninka leader, who voiced support for the global campaign.

“It’s been very difficult because we haven’t been supported by any international treaties or campaigns, he said. “Since 2015, four of our leaders have been killed by drug traffickers and forest loggers. This will be a key initiative for Indigenous Peoples to have this this strength to work with international organizations.”

Luis Fernando Arias, chief counsellor of the National Indigenous Peoples Organizations in Colombia (ONIC) said that in post conflict Colombia, since the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), signed a peace agreement with the government, 115 Indigenous leaders have been murdered and hundreds of people threatened and displaced.

“The government has criminalized us, saying that our mobilization process has been infiltrated, that we are terrorists,” Arias said. “Indigenous Peoples from Colombia support this campaign to end the criminalization.”

“We need to work together and we support this campaign,” said Pavel Sulyandziga, chair of the Board of the International Development Fund of Indigenous Peoples in Russia (BATANI), who said he has been accused of extremism and that his family has been persecuted due to a statement he made at the U.N. about Indigenous people.

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Trump Administration Guts UN Resolution to End Rape as a Weapon of War


Image result for Rape as a Weapon of War CARTOON


The Trump administration is under fire after the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution to end rape as a weapon of war on Tuesday that excluded any mention of sexual and reproductive health. The resolution was gutted after the U.S. threatened to veto the measure altogether unless language referencing reproductive health was taken out due to the Trump administration’s belief that the language was code for abortion. The watered-down measure also weakened references to the International Criminal Court, making it harder for women and girls to seek justice. We speak with Jessica Neuwirth, director of the Human Rights Program at Roosevelt House at Hunter College and the director of the Sisterhood Is Global Institute. She sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo protesting the U.S. stance on the Security Council resolution. We also speak with Planned Parenthood President Dr. Leana Wen.


AMY GOODMAN: The Trump administration is under fire after the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution to end rape as a weapon of war on Tuesday that excluded any mention of sexual and reproductive health. The resolution was gutted after the U.S. threatened to veto the measure altogether unless language referencing reproductive health was taken out due to the Trump administration’s belief the language was code for abortion. The watered-down measure also weakened references to the International Criminal Court, making it harder for women and girls to seek justice.

France’s U.N. ambassador blasted the move, saying, quote, “It is intolerable and incomprehensible that the Security Council is incapable of acknowledging that women and girls who suffered from sexual violence in conflict, and who obviously didn’t choose to become pregnant, should have the right to terminate their pregnancy.”

The resolution was championed by Nobel Peace laureate Nadia Murad, a Yazidi Kurdish human rights activist from Iraq. She was kidnapped by the self-proclaimed Islamic State and held as a sex slave for almost three months.




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British blackmail to cripple Palestinians’ UN bid?

“Promise not to prosecute Israeli war criminals, not to go for full UN membership, not to seek justice but submit to rigged talks, and we’ll support you”

By Stuart Littlewood

Britain’s Foreign Office, on its website, states loudly and clearly:

The UK is committed to upholding international justice and all of our international obligations. Our core principle is clear. Those guilty of war crimes must be brought to justice whether they are Israeli or any other nationality. We are also committed to ensuring that UK systems are robust in meeting its international law obligations.

Yet ugly rumours are flying that the British government twisted the arm of Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and told him the UK would support Palestine’s modest upgrade to “observer state” at the UN (to be decided on 29 November) only if he pledged not to pursue Israeli war criminals through the International Criminal Court (ICC).

In a statement issued on 27 November by the Palestinian MIssion in London, Ambassador Manuel Hassassian says:

It was reported recently in several media outlets that in exchange for its – the British government’s – support of the Palestinian UN bid it wants guarantees from Abbas including: (1) That the Palestinians will not bring cases against Israeli officials to the ICC or other UN agencies… (2) That the Palestinians will not use UN observer status as a basis for a renewed appeal to the UN Security Council for full membership to the UN… (3) That Abbas will commit to renewing peace talks with Israel without preconditions.

Such steps would undermine the Palestinian leadership and its credibility with its own constituents. The British government is once again putting conditions for its support to the Palestinian people instead of shouldering its historic responsibility towards them… I urge the British government to fulfil its responsibility and stand at the right side of history by recognizing the state of Palestine and voting in favour of an enhanced Palestinian status at the UN.

This morning the Palestinian embassy in London was unable to verify that any such pressure was put on Abbas. But that is not to say it didn’t happen and numerous media sources got it wrong. The conversation was likely to have taken place in Ramallah, and Ramallah is not noted for its responsiveness to media questions.

A last-minute message from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) communications office reads:

I can confirm that there has been British pressure to deprive of our right to ratify an international treaty. I can also ratify that we have been very clear in telling the UK that we are not going to compromise on our sovereignty. The resolution haven’t been and will not be modified to adequate any objection to our right to self determination and protection of our people.

What exactly that means I don’t know. And they still won’t say who put the squeeze on Abbas.

If nothing else, this episode demonstrates once again the deplorable state of the PLO/PA media skills.

If indeed any attempt were made by the UK government to deprive the Palestinians of the status, privileges and freedoms enjoyed by their neighbours it would be a deep disgrace on the people of Britain.

Solemn and binding obligations to pursue war criminals – do they mean nothing?

It was established at Nuremberg after World War II that crimes against the peace, crimes against humanity and war crimes are also offences against the whole of international society.

All states that are party to the Geneva Conventions – and that includes the UK – are under a solemn and binding obligation to seek out those suspected of having committed grave breaches of the Conventions and bring them to justice. There should be no hiding place for those suspected of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

…what we’re up against in the UK is a biased and unprincipled administration that wants to let “friendly” war criminals off and protect them from arrest while they visit Britain.

The UN’s Goldstone report and the international law panel appointed after the Gaza flotilla incident raised the issue of Israel’s impunity and unaccountability.

But what we’re up against in the UK is a biased and unprincipled administration that wants to let “friendly” war criminals off and protect them from arrest while they visit Britain. The government recently watered down UK law on universal jurisdiction, arguing that foreign politicians they happen to like, no matter how thuggish, should never be made to feel unwelcome. The overriding principle that no-one, regardless of nationality, should feel able to commit war crimes with impunity, is sacrificed so that the likes of former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, with the blood of thousands of Palestinian dead and wounded on her hands, can go shopping in London.

Livni, the pin-up girl of the Knesset, is reported to be making a comeback in Israeli politics at the head of a new party in January’s elections. It seems our Foreign Office chaps are hopelessly smitten by her.

Meanwhile, mountains of evidence of Israel’s war crimes are just waiting to be tested in the International Criminal Court.

The purpose of the ICC is “to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community”. The court has jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by nationals of a state party or on the territory of a state party since July 2002.

One hundred and fifteen states have signed up. The UK is one of them, and so too is Afghanistan. But rogue states like the US, Israel and Saudi skulk in the outer darkness.

A further 34 countries, including Russia, have signed but not ratified. Three — Israel, Sudan and the United States — signed and then, presumably realizing their conduct was not up to the standards expected and no doubt wishing to undermine its work whenever it suited them, “unsigned”.

Palestine declared its voluntary acceptance of the ICC’s jurisdiction in 2009, but whether it should be regarded as a “state” as required by Article 12(3) of Rome Statute has been the subject of much debate. In April this year the ICC General Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said the court would not accept a Palestinian demand to investigate alleged war crimes by Israel until Palestine was recognized as a state by the UN General Assembly. “In order to proceed we need the General Assembly of the UN accepting Palestine as an observer state. As soon as this is done we can proceed.”

If the ICC does acquire jurisdiction, it will inherit a whole shed-full of damning evidence gathered not only by Goldstone but many other organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the Arab League Fact Finding Committee.

Consequently, Israel and its obedient friends America and Britain are getting edgy.

In the meantime ,the PLO Executive Committee’s Hanan Ashrawi has announced that Palestine’s final resolution was submitted to the UN on 26 November, so all this last-minute bickering and arm-twisting is academic. It has been too late to change the wording since last weekend.

Asked whether Palestine would file complaints with the ICC, Ashrawi said it would be for the Palestinian leadership to decide. She also said that the PA would not abandon any of the inalienable Palestinian rights guaranteed by international law.

Within Palestinian ranks there seems to be a measure of unity. Hamas’s chief-in-exile, Khaled Meshaal, and fellow political bureau member Izzat al-Rishq said on 26 November that they supported Abbas in going before the United Nations, but warned that Palestinian “constants and rights” must not be compromised nor any inch of Palestinian land sacrificed.

Whether Hamas’s leaders-on-the-ground are quite so enthusiastic isn’t clear. However, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said “nobody is against statehood, and [my government] supports any political move to establish a Palestinian state on the occupied Palestinian territory.”

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, UK, UNComments Off on British blackmail to cripple Palestinians’ UN bid?

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