U.N. expert deems U.S. drone strike on Iran’s Soleimani an ‘unlawful’ killing

UNTV News   •   July 10, 2020   •   612

The January U.S. drone strike in Iraq that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and nine other people represented a violation of international law, a U.N. human rights investigator said on Thursday (July 9).

The United States has failed to provide sufficient evidence of an ongoing or imminent attack against its interests to justify the strike on Soleimani’s convoy as it left Baghdad airport, said Agnes Callamard, U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

The attack violated the U.N. Charter, Callamard wrote in a report calling for accountability for targeted killings by armed drones and for greater regulation of the weapons.

Callamard presented her findings to the Human Rights Council, giving member states a chance to debate what action to pursue. The United States is not a member of the forum, having quit two years ago.

Soleimani, leader of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, was a pivotal figure in orchestrating Iran’s campaign to drive U.S. forces out of Iraq, and built up Iran’s network of proxy armies across the Middle East. Washington had accused Soleimani of masterminding attacks by Iranian-aligned militias on U.S. forces in the region.

The Jan. 3 drone strike was the first known incident in which a nation invoked self-defence as a justification for an attack against a state actor in the territory of a third country, Callamard added.

Iran retaliated with a rocket attack on an Iraqi air base where U.S. forces were stationed. Hours later, Iranian forces on high alert mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger airliner taking off from Tehran.

Iran has issued an arrest warrant for U.S. President Donald Trump and 35 others over Soleimani’s killing and has asked Interpol for help, Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr said on June 29, according to the semi-official Fars news agency. (Reuters)

(Production: Cecile Mantovani)

UN warns against harsh treatment of protesters in Myanmar

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 16, 2021

The United Nations (UN) has warned Myanmar’s military for its harsh treatment of protesters, saying that the “world is watching closely.”

In a press briefing, UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq said that UN Special Envoy on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener has called on the Myanmar military to refrain from using violence and respect human rights.

“The right of peaceful assembly must fully be respected, and that demonstrators are not subjected to reprisals. She has conveyed to the Myanmar military that the world is watching closely, and any form of heavy-handed response is likely to have severe consequences,” she said.

Protests across Myanmar have grown after the military takeover on February 1 where top political leaders were arrested.

Several of the high officials detained include State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.  

There are also reports that the military use excessive force against the demonstrators.

According to the UN human rights office (OHCHR), as of February 12, more than 350 political and state officials, activists, and civil society members have been taken into custody. Several members of the media, monks, and students were also detained

“Several face criminal charges on dubious grounds, and most have received no form of due process or permitted legal representation, family visitations or communication,” according to the UN.

Burgener also reiterated UN Secretary-General António Guterres’s statement and called for a visit to Myanmar under agreeable conditions. -AAC

UN condemns military takeover in Myanmar

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 1, 2021

UN Secretary-General António Guterres

The United Nations (UN) condemned the military takeover in Myanmar and the detention of top political leaders and government officials.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the developments in Myanmar “represent a serious blow to democratic reforms” in the country. Among those detained include State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.

The detentions and the seizure of power took place on the eve of the opening session of Myanmar’s new parliament.

The coup followed brewing tensions between the government and the military in the aftermath of last November’s general elections.

The Aung San Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy (NLD) claimed an overwhelming victory in the polls, securing over 80% of the seats. However, the military and several political parties disputed the results and alleged that the polls were marred with irregularities.

Guterres reiterated that the November 8, 2020 general elections “provide the clear will of the people of Myanmar to continue on the hard-won path of democratic reform.”

“The Secretary-General urges the military leadership to respect the will of the people of Myanmar and adhere to democratic norms,” the statement reads.AAC

UN chief calls on world leaders to declare ‘state of climate emergency’

Marje Pelayo   •   December 14, 2020

In his opening remarks at the Climate Ambition Summit on Saturday (December 12), United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a worldwide declaration of “state of climate emergency.” 

Such a declaration, Guterres said, is to address the impact of global warming.

The Secretary General noted that currently the world is 1.2 degrees hotter than before the industrial revolution. 

“If we don’t change course, we may be headed for a catastrophic temperature rise of more than 3 degrees this century. Can anybody still deny that we are facing a dramatic emergency?,” he said.

“That is why today, I call on all leaders worldwide to declare a State of Climate Emergency in their countries until carbon neutrality is reached,” he added.

The central objective of the UN in 2021, he said, will be to build a truly global coalition for carbon neutrality by the middle of the century.

The UN official said global economic policies and finance must be aligned with the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Thus, it is time to put a price on carbon and phase out fossil fuel finance and end fossil fuel subsidies.

He also suggested ending the construction of new coal power plants and shifting the tax burden from income to carbon, from taxpayers to polluters.

Also, Guterres calls on nations to make climate-related financial risk disclosures mandatory and to integrate the goal of carbon neutrality into all economic and fiscal policies and decisions.

On a positive note, the Secretary General commended several countries who have started to reduce carbon emissions while some 38 countries have already declared the state of climate emergency realizing the urgency.

“I urge everyone to show ambition, stop the assault on our planet,” he said.

“Do what we need to guarantee the future of our children and grandchildren,” he said.

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