UN Human Rights: “Says they Hope that the Abolition of the Death Penalty will Follow their Decision to Commute All Death Sentences to Life-Imprisionment”

#AceWorldNews says “United Nations Human Rights Office” today said it hopes that Myanmar’s decision to commute all death sentences to life imprisonment will lead to the full abolition of the death penalty in the country.

President Thein Sein announced on 2 January that he would commute death sentences to life imprisonment and reduce some sentences on humanitarian grounds and to mark the 66th anniversary of independence of the country, marked on 4 January.

“We warmly welcome the Myanmar Government’s Presidential Order,” the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, told journalists in Geneva.

The move is “very significant” for Myanmar, which has not carried out the death penalty since 1989, the spokesperson noted, as the country assumed the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The step “sets a positive example for other ASEAN member states and other States in the region and beyond,” Mr. Colville said on behalf of the Office for the High Commissioners of Human Rights (OHCHR).

#asean, #myanmar, #office-of-the-united-nations-high-commissioner-for-human-rights, #ohchr

“International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women Ends 10 December on “Human Rights Day” #Peace

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner...

#AceWorldNews says Afghan authorities registered an increased number of reported acts of violence against women and girls in the past year, but prosecutions and convictions under a landmark law  remained low with most cases settled by mediation, according to an annual United Nations report released today.

While registration of reported incidents such as forced marriage, domestic violence and rape increased by 28 per cent in 16 provinces since the previous year, the use of the law on the Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) as a basis for indictment increased by only two per cent, according to <“http://unama.unmissions.org/Portals/UNAMA/Documents/UNAMA%20REPORT%20on%20EVAW%20LAW_8%20December%202013.pdf“>’A Way to Go’ co-authored by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

“Police, prosecutors and courts, in our view, need increased resources and technical and political support and direction from the highest levels of Government to deal adequately with the increase in reporting and registration of cases of violence against women documented in this report,” Georgette Gagnon, director of the human rights unit at UNAMA and OHCHR representative, told journalists in the Afghan capital of Kabul at the report launch.

Women are “coming forward in demanding justice”, Ms. Gagnon said flanked by the heads of two key civil society group – Hasina Safi from the Afghan Women’s Network, and  the Afghan Women’s Skills Development Centre’s Mary Akrami. “The Government needs to step up and provide that justice.”

Presenting the report findings, Ms. Gagnon said that of an estimated total of 1,669 reported incidents registered throughout the country only 109 cases or seven per cent went through a judicial process using the EVAW law.

Parties to the Convention on the Elimination o...

Parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, from the OHCHR. Parties in dark green, countries which have signed but not ratified in light green, non-members in grey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“What we found is that, instead, the police and prosecutors were mediating more cases of violence against women,” said the UN official, speaking on behalf of Ján Kubiš, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Afghanistan.

Mediation whether through formal or informal dispute resolution bodies often fails to protect women from further violence by not applying criminal sanctions and legal protections for women, according to the report.

It compares and updates findings from UNAMA’s December 2012 report on EVAW law implementation and is based on consultations with 203 judicial, police and Government officials, and monitoring of almost 500 cases of violence against women throughout Afghanistan. The report analyses statistical data on the law’s application obtained from police, prosecutors and other judicial officials in 18 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces over the one-year period October 2012 to September 2013.

Enacted in 2009, the EVAW law criminalizes acts of violence against women and harmful practices including child marriage, forced marriage, forced self-immolation, ‘baad’ (giving away a woman or girl to settle a dispute) and 18 other acts of violence against women including rape and beating. It also specifies punishment for perpetrators.

English: Staffan de Mistura, UNAMA

English: Staffan de Mistura, UNAMA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“The landmark law on the Elimination of Violence against Women was a huge achievement for all Afghans,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said in a <“http://unama.unmissions.org/Default.aspx?tabid=12316&ctl=Details&mid=15873&ItemID=37528&language=en-US“> news release from UNAMA. “But implementation has been slow and uneven, with police still reluctant to enforce the legal prohibition against violence and harmful practices, and prosecutors and courts slow to enforce the legal protections in the law.”

“Afghan authorities need to do much more to build on the gains made so far in protecting women and girls from violence,” Ms. Pillay urged.

Among its recommendations, the report calls on the Government to put in place a concrete plan, within six months, for the next two-year period for improving implementation of the EVAW law, including measures recommended to Afghanistan by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in August 2013.

Another recommendation is that major donors establish a joint monitoring framework with specific indicators to measure progress in EVAW law implementation.

The release of the report coincides with the global campaign of 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence.

The campaign begins annually on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, marked on 25 November, and ends on 10 December Human Rights Day.

#humanrightnews, #humanrights, #afghan-womens-network, #afghanistan, #international-day-for-the-elimination-of-violence-against-women, #kabul, #navi-pillay, #office-of-the-united-nations-high-commissioner-for-human-rights, #unama, #united-nations, #united-nations-assistance-mission-in-afghanistan, #women

Mass Demolition of 35 Bedouin Villages Displaces 40,000 Residents in Their Ancestral Homes

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner...

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#AceWelfareNews says the United Nations human rights office recently urged Israeli authorities to halt the recent wave of demolitions of Bedouin structures, noting the destruction of this property violates international humanitarian law.

“These mass demolitions raise serious concerns about the prohibition on forced evictions under international human rights law, and Israel’s obligations to respect, protect and fulfill the rights of Palestinians to adequate housing and freedom from arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy, family and home,” said Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

In July, OHCHR urged Israel to reconsider a proposed law that would result in the demolition of up to 35 Bedouin villages, displacing as many as 40,000 members of these communities from their ancestral homes.

However, demolitions began on 19 August and have been carried out by Israeli authorities in at least six different locations, including East Jerusalem. Subsequently, on 11 September all but two residential structures in the Bedouin community of Az Za’ayyem on the edge of Jerusalem were demolished.

The latest wave of demolitions occurred on 16 September, when 58 structures were knocked down, including all residential structures and livestock shelters in the herding community of Mak-hul in the northern Jordan Valley.

According to OHCHR, all 10 families inhabiting the structures were rendered homeless and no alternative housing options were offered.

English: Bedouin woman in Jerusalem. Gaeilge: ...

English: Bedouin woman in Jerusalem. Gaeilge: Bean Bedouin i Iarúsailéim, idir 1898 agus 1914 This is a restored version of the original LoC .tif file with damaged areas cropped and missing foliage replaced at far upper right. Dirt and scratches removed, fading at bottom addressed. Sharpened and levels adjusted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Israeli authorities denied the provision of emergency shelter assistance to the community by humanitarian organizations,” Mr. Colville said. “The community remains vulnerable to further demolitions and repeated displacement due to lack of legal security of tenure and the consequent inability to obtain building permits.”

Mr. Colville added that the obligations of Israel with respect to the right of adequate housing of Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory include ensuring access to basic shelter and housing, and refraining from interfering with the enjoyment of these rights.

#acenewsservices, #az-zaayyem, #bedouin, #demolition, #east-jerusalem, #human-rights, #israel, #israeli-authorities, #jerusalem, #negev, #office-of-the-united-nations-high-commissioner-for-human-rights, #ohchr, #palestinian-people, #palestinian-territories, #peace, #rupert-colville