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UN Daily News
Friday, 4 March 2016

Issue DH/7109

In the headlines:
Tackling 'triple peril' facing the Sahel region is top

Civilians bear brunt of Yemen's unrest, UN human

We must not allow protectors to become

Women's participation rate in parliaments slows,

Fiji and UN appeal for $38 million to relieve

'When cultural heritage is under attack, human

UN joins partners in pledging support for President-

UN refugee chief presents detailed plan to solve

Authorities in Apple-FBI case 'risk unlocking

Haiti must address prison overcrowding and

priority for UN, Ban says in Mauritania

predators UN field support chief

'catastrophic loss' after Cyclone Winston

elect of Central African Republic

Pandora's Box' UN human rights chief

rights office warns

even as more gain top seats IPU

rights are under attack' UN expert

crisis in Europe, warning time is running out

prolonged pre-trial detention UN report

Tackling 'triple peril' facing the Sahel region is top priority for
UN, Ban says in Mauritania
4 March - With a triple peril of environmental degradation, poverty and insecurity facing
the Sahel, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today during a visit to Mauritania that
improving the situation in the region is a top priority for the United Nations.
You know my dedication to the Sahel, Mr. Ban told those participating in an event on
peace and security, which discussed the root causes of instability in the region.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivers
his keynote address at a Peace and
Security in the Sahel Region event in
Nouakchott, Mauritania. UN Photo/Evan

When I visited at the end of 2013, we mobilized the international community to find
durable solutions, he recalled. The countries of the region can defeat these difficulties by
working together, with the support of the international community, he added.

The UN estimates that one in seven Sahelians lack food, one in five children will die before
their fifth birthday, and four and a half million people have been forced to flee their homes. Communities have also been
struggling against harsh environmental conditions and worsening climatic shocks.
The international response has a new boost thanks to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris
Agreement on climate change, the UN chief declared. We have another opportunity to strengthen global solidarity at the
World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May. I count on Sahelian leaders to attend.
The Sahel is a region spanning across eight African countries Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria,
Cameroon and Chad many of which are dealing with a volatile security situation.
I am especially concerned about the interlinked activities of criminal groups and terrorist organizations. Local people pay
the highest price, warned the Secretary-General, noting that insecurity in Northern Mali has driven thousands of people
from their homes, including some 48,000 refugees living in the Mbera camp in Mauritania.
For information media not an official record

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4 March 2016

The United Nations is ready to assist in countering terrorism and other asymmetric threats, he continued. In this, we
insist on full respect for human rights and international humanitarian law as a matter of moral responsibility and strategic
effectiveness, he stressed.
Welcoming the African Union Nouakchott Process and its sustained focus on security and terrorism, Mr. Ban said
Mauritania's engagement is invaluable. In his remarks, he saluted President Abdel Aziz's regional leadership and his role
in establishing the 'G5 Sahel.'
We need to carry out these new initiatives. And we need enhanced regional support to the UN mission in Mali,
MINUSMA, he said. I especially applaud the G5's decision to establish a regional cell in Nouakchott for the prevention of
radicalization. This can complement my global Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism.
Meanwhile, he stressed that youth across this region need better access to education and decent jobs. They can be a
powerful force for progress against violent extremism. The historic Security Council resolution 2250 recognizes that young
people can actively shape peace, contribute to justice and heal societies.
He added that it is equally essential to empower women, including by ending female genital mutilation (FGM), and praised
Mauritania's national policy against FGM and similar efforts across the region. Furthermore, he welcomed the country's
laws to penalize slavery and address torture. Such abominable practices have no place in the modern world, he stressed.
Tomorrow, Mr. Ban will meet with Sahrawi refugees suffering terribly under harsh conditions in Algeria. The world cannot
forget their plight. The Sahrawi people must enjoy their human rights especially the right to self-determination within the
framework of a mutually acceptable political solution, emphasized the UN chief.
He underlined that his aim is to contribute to this solution and facilitate genuine negotiations so that Sahrawi refugees can
return home to Western Sahara.
I am also deeply concerned about the situation in Libya, he added. There are alarming reports of widespread human
rights violations, including serious abuses that may amount to war crimes. All those with influence must use it to calm the
situation and stop the fighting. It is utterly irresponsible for any outside player to stoke the fires.
Ending his remarks, the UN chief said he is inspired by Mauritania's rich history, and that the world needs such an openhearted spirit to break down walls and forge trust.

We must not allow protectors to become predators UN field

support chief
4 March - With 99 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse uncovered by the United
Nations in 2015 69 of these in countries where peacekeeping operations are deployed
the Organization is today presenting its latest report on special measures to protect people
from these crimes.

Blue helmets and uniforms of UN

Peacekeepers. UN Photo/Marco Dormino

Last December, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pledged to urgently review

recommendations made by an independent panel which found that the UN did not act with
the speed, care or sensitivity required, when it uncovered information about crimes
committed against children by soldiers not under UN command sent to the Central
African Republic (CAR) to protect civilians.

Meanwhile, new allegations of sexual abuse have continued to emerge against UN peacekeepers in the country, with the UN
Mission there, known by its French acronym MINUSCA, recently reporting seven new possible victims in the town of
It is greatly distressing when protectors, in rare instances, turn predators, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Field
Support, Atul Khare, told the UN News Centre in an interview.
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4 March 2016

Mr. Khare, who today is presenting the newest set of measures for protection from sexual abuse and exploitation, as well as
giving an update on the implementation of 45 measures introduced last year, noted that 22 of the cases in 2015 took place in
CAR, while 16 were reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and nine in Haiti.
The countries which received the most allegations in 2015 are reportedly the DRC, Morocco, South Africa, Cameroon, the
Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania.
We are fully committed to addressing the deplorable situation in MINUSCA, he told reporters at a press briefing in New
York. The heart-breaking events that have come to light in the Central African Republic are a stark reminder that we must
redouble our efforts to curb this scourge and that we depend on a strong partnership with Member States to do so.

Improving assistance to victims

The Under-Secretary-General told the News Centre that first, the Organization and its partners must adopt a victim-centred
approach, with urgent psychological, medical, and legal assistance provided to them, particularly when the victims are very
young children.
In this regard, the Secretary-General is proposing the creation of a trust fund. It would be funded voluntarily, but also from
the salaries withheld from those who face significant allegations which have been substantiated, Mr. Khare explained,
noting that some $50,000 has been withheld so far.
Other proposals address the strengthening of the UNs entire system of response and coordination, creating safe spaces for
victims to lodge complaints against peacekeepers. These would exist in more locations, closer to the communities affected,
and with the support of non-governmental organizations.
We will spare no effort in making it possible for victims to come forward and for their allegations to receive serious
consideration, the UN official insisted.

Enhanced transparency
A second set of recommendations deals with measures to enhance the UNs transparency, such as an online database
featuring all the information about the cases which will be available at the UNs Conduct and Discipline website. It will
contain details outlining the nature of the allegations, the number of victims per allegation, and the number of perpetrators
per allegation.
It will also identify the countries from which such perpetrators came, and it will update on the action taken, either by the
UN or by the countries concerned, as regards investigation into these cases whether they have been completed, what
disciplinary measures were taken, and what criminal jurisdiction measures were undertaken by the countries to provide
adequate, appropriate and exemplary punishment, Mr. Khare said.
He added that the UN is appealing to Member States to ensure that sanctions are commensurate with the seriousness of the
offense and that criminal accountability follows. In some instances, we have seen punishments that do not appear to be
commensurate with the seriousness of the offenses committed, he noted.

Stronger disciplinary measures

The presence of UN-led immediate response teams will also be strengthened, so that as soon as a complaint is received,
evidence can be quickly collected and preserved for national investigators. As the UN does not have criminal jurisdiction,
these investigators are expected to be appointed by the perpetrators country within a 10-day time limit of the alleged crime,
and to have completed their investigations within six months.
In cases where a particularly egregious offense has taken place, say for the rape of a child, then we will request that this
period be shortened by half appointing an investigator within five days, and completing the investigation within three
months, the senior official underlined.
The Secretary-General has also requested that Member States obtain DNA samples from uniformed personnel who have
been accused. Furthermore, if a country fails to investigate, Mr. Ban has proposed that its peacekeepers no longer be
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4 March 2016

deployed to work under the UN flag. In addition, a very strong vetting mechanism has already been established, by which
the Organization can verify the criminal past of prospective peacekeepers.
Disciplinary measures have been strengthened since last year, the Under-Secretary-General stressed, pointing out that not
only will perpetrators be repatriated, but commanders are also at risk of being sent home for not being strong enough in
their command and control.

Preventative measures
Prevention is also a key element to the new report presented today. This includes pre-deployment training, mandatory online
courses, and additional measures such as the enforcement of non-fraternization policies.
That anyone serving under the UN flag should prey on the vulnerable is an abomination, Mr. Khare stated. We will not
let up in our response to ensure that our prevention measures are robust, and that where incidents occur, victims receive
support and allegations are vigorously investigated so that, ultimately, justice is served.
Asked whether deploying more women could further limit the risk of sexual exploitation and abuse, Mr. Khare said he does
believe that a greater participation of female peacekeepers would help, not only in the fight against this particular issue, but
also to improve the overall quality of peacekeeping and the way in which the UN achieves its mandates worldwide.
Im ashamed to call myself a peacekeeper on some of these days when I see cases like this, the Under-Secretary-General
told reporters, referring to the pregnancy of a 13-year old girl.
What we need to do is not detract from the good work which is done by hundreds of thousands of peacekeepers. We need
to find these culprits who bring a bad name to peacekeeping, who actually create problems within the country in which they
find themselves, and most importantly who destroy young innocent lives. And we need to punish them in a certain manner
that nobody else in the future will ever think of doing that, he underscored.

Fiji and UN appeal for $38 million to relieve 'catastrophic loss'

after Cyclone Winston
4 March - The Government of Fiji and the United Nations today launched an appeal for
$38.6 million in critical emergency relief to 350,000 people in need after Cyclone
Winston's fury left the island nation a loss of catastrophic proportions.
In light of the enormous and long process to recovery and rehabilitation ahead of us, and
in the name of the Fijian people, I am calling on the international community's assistance,
Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama said.
A seven-year old girl stands in the
destroyed library of Nabau District
School in Ra Province, Fiji. Photo:

He said that relief efforts are in full swing and Fiji is prioritizing the restoration of such
essential services as education, health, infrastructure and agriculture.

Winston, the most devastating tropical cyclone on record in the Southern Hemisphere, struck the Pacific island nation on 20
February, taking more than 40 lives and affecting 350,000 people, 40 per cent of the total population. Some 54,000 people
remain sheltered in 960 evacuation centres.
While comprehensive data on the damage is still being collected, initial estimates indicate varying levels of destruction, with
up to 100 per cent of buildings destroyed on some islands. Hundreds of schools have been damaged or destroyed, health
facilities have been severely damaged and the agricultural sector faces a total loss of some $56 million.
Almost no part of our nation has been left unscarred, and many of our rural and maritime areas bore the brunt of Winston's
fury, said Nazhat Shameem Khan, Fiji's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva.
On Koro Island alone, more than 3,000 people were left homeless, with 21 per cent of livestock dead and any crop yield
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4 March 2016

made impossible.
This is a loss of catastrophic proportions for Fiji, and the immediate loss will be followed by a longer term loss to Fiji's
economic and social growth, Mr. Khan said. We have suffered a terrible blow to infrastructure, health, education, and
agriculture. It is a blow which will take us years to recover from. The moment is now, for our friends to stand by the people
of Fiji.
For its part, the UN, together with its humanitarian partners, is supporting Fiji in their response to the catastrophe.
It is vital that the international community provides the necessary resources so we can help all the affected people with
shelter, health services, water and sanitation, and support students to restart their education, said Marcy Vigoda, Chief of
Partnerships and Resource Mobilization in the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Geneva.
Meanwhile, Stephen O'Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, is
releasing some $8 million from the UN's Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to immediate response projects in the
appeal. International donors have already made in-kind donations and provided technical assistance worth nearly $22
million, and provided $9 million in cash.

UN joins partners in pledging support for President-elect of

Central African Republic
4 March - The United Nations today, in a joint statement with other multilateral
organizations, welcomed the final results of the second round of the presidential elections
in the Central African Republic (CAR) announced earlier this week, congratulating
President-elect Faustin-Archange Touadra.

Polling station in Bangui for the second

round of elections in Central African
Republic, February 2016. UN
Photo/Nektarios Markogiannis

On 1 March, the Transitional Constitutional Court announced the outcome of the run-off
between two former prime ministers, Mr. Touadra and Anicet-Georges Dologul. About
62 per cent of voters chose Mr. Touadera, according to media reports.

The UN, the African Union (AU), the Economic Community of Central African States
(ECCAS), the European Union (EU) and the International Organization of La Francophonie
expressed their support for the determination of the President-elect to further the efforts to promote dialogue and national
They also paid tribute to Mr. Dologul and the Central African people, who have demonstrated their commitment to efforts
to find durable solutions in support of peace, reconciliation, and economic and social development in their country.
Welcoming the essential role played by the Transitional Authority in support of a return to peace, the organizations
reiterated their commitment to continue efforts to support the completion of the transition, including through the holding of
the second round of legislative elections.
The international community will continue to lend its support to the efforts of the new Central African Republic authorities
through a responsible partnership, they said.
The country plunged into a crisis in early 2013 when Franois Boziz, President at that time, was ousted by mainly Muslim
Seleka fighters. Christian anti-Balaka militias responded by attacking the Muslim minority.
The UN has played a major role in seeking to restore peace in the country, with military and police units from the 11,000strong UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the country (MINUSCA) joining soldiers from the French
Sangaris force and local security teams at polling stations to ensure a peaceful vote on 30 December 2015.

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4 March 2016

Authorities in Apple-FBI case 'risk unlocking Pandora's Box'

UN human rights chief
4 March - The top United Nations human rights official today urged United States
authorities to proceed with great caution in their legal efforts to break the encryption on an
iPhone linked to the investigation into the mass killings in San Bernardino, California,
saying the case could have broader implications for digital security and human rights.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said in a statement that
the ongoing legal process involving the Apple computer company and the US Federal
Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is not just about one case and one IT company in one
country. It will have tremendous ramifications for the future of individuals' security in a
digital world which is increasingly inextricably meshed with the actual world we live in.

Photo of Apples iPhone. Source: Simone

D. MaCourtie/World Bank

According to reports, on December 2, 2015, 14 people were killed and 22 were seriously injured in an attack at the Inland
Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, which consisted of a mass shooting and an attempted bombing.
Subsequently, the FBI has requested Apple to unlock the iPhone of one of the shooters to access encrypted data.
Mr. Zeid notes that the FBI deserves everyone's full support in the probe, but that this case is about where a key red line
necessary to safeguard all of us from criminals and repression should be set, said the UN human rights chief.
A successful case against Apple will set a precedent that may make it impossible for any other major international IT
company to safeguard their clients' privacy anywhere in the world, he warned. This could potentially be a gift to
authoritarian regimes and criminal hackers.
In order to address a security-related issue related to encryption in one case, the authorities risk unlocking a Pandora's Box
that could have extremely damaging implications for the human rights of many millions of people, Mr. Zeid said.

Need for encryption tools

Referring to State attempts to expose people to mass surveillance, Mr. Zeid noted that encryption tools are used world-wide
by human rights defenders, civil society, journalists, whistle-blowers and political dissidents facing persecution and
Without encryption tools, lives may be endangered, he said. In the worst cases, a Government's ability to break into its
citizens' phones may lead to the persecution of individuals who are simply exercising their fundamental human rights.
Mr. Zeid also warned that weakening encryption protection opens the door for criminals intent on committing economic
In an age when we store so much of our personal and professional lives on our smart phones and other devices, how is it
going to be possible to protect that information without fail-safe encryption systems, Mr. Zeid asked.

Potential greater dangers

He said the debate around encryption is too focused on security, and overlooks that weakening encryption protections may
bring even bigger dangers to national and international security.
He urged US authorities to use the Apple-FBI case as a starting point for a much-needed profound examination of the
highly complex and constantly evolving issues relating to privacy and security in the digital age.
Mr. Zeid also called on the Human Rights Council, now underway in Geneva, to continue to examine the impact that digital
and new technologies have on human rights across the globe.

UN News Centre www.un.org/news

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4 March 2016

Civilians bear brunt of Yemen's unrest, UN human rights office

4 March - The number of civilians killed in Yemen continues to rise, almost doubling
between January and February, the United Nations human rights office today announced.
During February, a total of at least 168 civilians were killed and 193 injured, around twothirds of them by Coalition airstrikes, the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner
for Human Rights (OHCHR), Rupert Colville, told journalists in Geneva.
This casualty number is the highest since September, he added.

The aftermath of a bombing by the Saudiled coalition in Yemen. Photo: Almigdad


Airstrikes account for the greatest number of casualties, with 99 people affected in the
capital, Sana'a, in February, out of 246 people killed or wounded throughout the country
during the month.
In the worst single incident, at least 39 civilians were killed and another 33 injured on 27 February, during an airstrike on the
Khaleq market in Sana'a's north-eastern district of Nahem. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is among the UN officials who
have called for a prompt and impartial investigation.
South of Sana'a, fighting and indiscriminate shelling by members of the Popular Committees affiliated with the Houthis and
allied army units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh resulted in 49 civilian casualties in February, including
children, according to figures provided by Mr. Colville. The incidents took place mostly in Taizz, Ibb and Al Jawf.
Civilian infrastructure also continues to be damaged or destroyed. Mr. Colville said that both parties have targeted protected
civilian sites, along with places such as a cement factory, homes, shops and ambulance and police cars.
There have also been worrying allegations which we are still working to verify that Coalition forces dropped cluster
bombs on a mountainous area to the south of the Amran cement factory, Mr. Colville said. The target appears to have been
a military unit loyal to the Houthis.
The UN human rights official also highlighted the dangers posed to journalists, with at least two incidents occurring in
February in areas controlled by the Houthis or the Popular Committees affiliated with the Houthis.
During today's press conference, Mr. Colville referred to a 31 January statement by the Spokesman of the Coalition Forces
concerning the establishment of a multi-national team formed by the Command of the Coalition Forces to evaluate the
military targeting mechanisms and incidents taking place in civilian areas.
He urged any investigation to be done in accordance with international standards, including independence and impartiality.
Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, High Commissioner for Human Rights, is expected to present an oral update on the situation in
Yemen to the Human Rights Council during its current session, which opened in Geneva this past Monday.

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4 March 2016

Women's participation rate in parliaments slows, even as more

gain top seats IPU
4 March - Despite an increase in the number of women Speakers of Parliament, the
number of female parliamentarians across the world rose by only 0.5 percentage points in
2015, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) today reported, dashing hopes that gender parity
in parliament could be achieved within a generation.
In its annual report, Women in Parliament 2015: the Year in Review, the IPU stated that
women now account for 22.6 per cent of the world's Members of the Parliament.
Female politicians at a meeting of women
lawmakers from Arab States and
members of the European Parliament in
November 2014 in Brussels, Belgium.
Photo: UN Women/Emad Karim

Although this figure is an all-time high and represents the continued upward trend for
women in parliament, the rate of progress in 2015 was another setback from the 1.5
percentage points witnessed in 2013, the IPU said.

The overall growth in the past decade has been 6.4 points, and with the snail-pace growth rate in 2015, the IPU said the
trend does little to inspire confidence the situation will change any time soon.
This is particularly disappointing given the push to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030, as
part of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

'Urgent need for creative solutions and changing mindsets'

IPU's 2015 statistics on women in parliament underline the urgent need for creative solutions and changing mindsets if
there is any chance of meeting goals on political participation and empowerment, said IPU Secretary General Martin
In areas of success, the IPU highlighted that quotas and proportional representation systems are more effective in getting
women into parliament.
The IPU report also highlights the need to tackle impediments to women running for office, such as the lack of adequate
finance for their campaigns, and reiterates the critical role of political parties in changing the status quo.

Regional successes
While the overall number of women is not rising as quickly as had been hoped, the IPU noted that women are in
increasingly higher positions.
Out of 273 Speakers of Parliament worldwide, 49 are now women, an increase of six positions since 2014.
As parliamentary leaders are among the most powerful political figures in their countries, women Speakers are not only
critical role models and mentors for other women MPs, they are also vital to changing mindsets on delivering change, the
IPU reported.
There were 58 parliamentary elections in 2015, with the Americas, sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and the Arab world seeing
increases in women's representation.
Both the Asia and Pacific regions remained virtually static, regions which IPU said have shown the least progress on
women's parliamentary participation over the past decade.
The report has been released today ahead of International Women's Day on 8 March.
IPU works closely with the United Nations and other multilateral bodies to ensure there is a parliamentary dimension to
international cooperation, global governance as well as in the resolution of major international issues.

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4 March 2016

'When cultural heritage is under attack, human rights are under

attack' UN expert
4 March - The destruction of cultural heritage is a violation of human rights, a United
Nations-appointed expert said today, as the international criminal tribunal began a pre-trial
procedure for the first-ever case in which charges were brought against the destruction of
cultural and religious sites.
It is impossible to separate a people's cultural heritage from the people itself and their
rights, Karima Bennoune, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on cultural rights, said in
a press statement. Clearly, we must now understand that when cultural heritage is under
attack, it is also the people and their fundamental human rights that are under attack.

A manuscript from the 14th century, part

of Malis invaluable ancient manuscript
collection. UN Photo/Marco Dormino

On 1 March, a pre-trial procedure, known as a confirmation of charges hearing, was opened

in The Hague by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for a case related to alleged cultural destruction in Timbuktu, Mali.
While stressing that she does not want to prejudge the ongoing individual case before the ICC, Ms. Bennoune said that the
destruction of cultural heritage by States and non-State actors must be urgently addressed by the international community.
When mausoleums as well as ancient Islamic manuscripts - were being destroyed by armed groups during their 2012
occupation of Northern Mali, various forms of cultural practice were also under attack, including music and religious
practices, she said.
The UN expert welcomed the decision of the ICC Prosecutor's Office, for the first time, to charge the destruction of cultural
and religious sites, as well as historical monuments, as a stand-alone war crime.
In a report to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday 10 March, the expert will address further the links
between destruction of cultural heritage and violations of cultural rights. She will also make key recommendations,
including for international cooperation and technical assistance.
She said that cultural heritage professionals on the frontlines of the struggle against destruction must be provided with the
conditions necessary to complete their work, and asylum when necessary.
We must not wait to rally to the cause of at-risk cultural heritage defenders until we are mourning their deaths, the human
rights expert said, while honouring the memory of Syrian archaeologist Khaled al-Asaad, retired chief of antiquities for
Palmyra, killed in 2015.
Moreover, tribute should be paid to ordinary people who step forward to defend cultural heritage, like those in Northern
Mali who reportedly hid manuscripts beneath the floorboards of their homes to protect them or those in Libya who tried to
peacefully protest destruction of Sufi sites, Ms. Bennoune said.
The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Independent
human rights experts, appointed by the Council, address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of
the world. They are not UN staff and are independent from any government or organization. They serve in their individual
capacity and do not receive a salary for their work.

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4 March 2016

UN refugee chief presents detailed plan to solve crisis in

Europe, warning time is running out
4 March - Warning Europe is running out of time to solve the current refugee situation, the
UN refugee chief today outlined a detailed six-point plan ahead of a key meeting of
European Union leaders and Turkey in Brussels next week.
This is as much a crisis of European solidarity as it is a refugee crisis, said the UN High
Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, in a
press release. The collective failure to implement the measures agreed by EU Member
States in the past has led to the current escalation in the crisis, he added.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is highlighting that the
situation is quickly deteriorating with some 30,000 people now in Greece, almost a third of
whom are in Idomeni just near the border with the former Yugoslav Republic of

Mother and children waiting with other

refugees to enter Vinojug reception centre
at Gevgelija, in the former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia, at the border
with Greece. Photo: UNHCR/Mark

Although the Greek authorities and military have ramped up their response, thousands are sleeping in the open without
adequate reception, services, aid or information. With tensions mounting, the situation could escalate quickly into a fullblown crisis.
But Mr. Grandi also said it is not too late if the right actions are taken now. "We are running out of time, and strong
leadership and vision are urgently needed from European leaders to deal with what is, in our view, a situation that can still
be managed if properly addressed," he stressed.
UNHCR is supporting the Greek Government's efforts by deploying staff, helping coordinate the response and providing
emergency shelter, technical support and information to refugees and migrants.
Mr. Grandi's plan to EU Member States to manage and stabilize the refugee situation includes the relocation of asylum
seekers out of Greece and Italy, and the return of individuals who do not qualify for refugee protection; stepping up support
to Greece to handle the humanitarian emergency; ensuring compliance with all EU laws on asylum; making available more
safe and legal ways for refugees to travel to Europe; safeguarding individuals at risk such as children who are
unaccompanied; developing Europe-wide systems of responsibility for asylum-seekers, including the creation of registration
centres in main countries of arrival.
UNHCR's proposals make clear that equitable sharing of responsibility is key to bringing about a managed and orderly
solution, and that EU Member States would need to agree a system of percentages of asylum-seekers for each Member State
to take.
"Europe has successfully dealt with large-scale refugee movements in the past, during the Balkans Wars for example, and
can deal with this one, provided it acts in a spirit of solidarity and responsibility sharing," said High Commissioner Grandi.
"There is really no other option than working together to solve this," he added.

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4 March 2016

Haiti must address prison overcrowding and prolonged pre-trial

detention UN report
4 March - Haiti has made important steps towards the promotion and protection of human
rights but some challenges exist regarding the judicial system, the excessive use of force by
state agents and the situation of people returned or deported to Haiti by the Dominican
authorities, according to a United Nations report on the human rights situation in that

At the Womens Prison in Ptionville, a

suburb of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, twenty to
thirty detainees are crowded into each
prison cell and women and girls, some as
young as 14, often sleep on the floor in
shifts. (File, 2012) UN Photo/Victoria

The report by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR),
covering the period from July 2014 to June 2015, highlights advances made in relation to
the protection of children against trafficking, prostitution and pornography. At the same
time, it underlines several human rights weaknesses, making particular reference to the
increase of the country's prison population as well as the inhuman and degrading treatment
suffered by prisons' inmates, a situation described as alarming.

On the relations between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the report emphasizes that the
situation remains critical for thousands of people of Haitian origin, or regarded as Haitians, who have been returned or
deported to Haiti by the Dominican authorities.
Regarding the extreme slowness of judicial proceedings on serious violations of the past, such as the trial against Jean
Claude Duvalier and co-defendants, the report highlights how this represents an obstacle in the fight against impunity.
The report makes several recommendations, including use of the expertise of the UN human rights system, including the
OHCHR, the human rights arm of UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), the Human Rights Council (HRC),
treaty bodies and special procedures.
To fight against prison overcrowding and prolonged pre-trial detention, the report recommends that the Haitian Government
use the expertise of the HRC, in particular the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Special Rapporteur on torture and
other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and
The report also recommends that Haiti consider becoming party to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel,
Inhuman or Degrading Treatment as well as its Optional Protocol establishing a system of regular visits by independent
bodies to places where people are deprived of their liberty.
The report is submitted to the Haitian Government for follow-up with a view to encouraging actions.

The UN Daily News is prepared at UN Headquarters in New York by the News Services Section
of the News and Media Division, Department of Public Information (DPI)