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Newsline: UN rights council to focus on Iran

The UN Human Rights Council is holding an urgent meeting Thursday to discuss whether to launch a high-level international investigation into the deadly crackdown on mass protests rocking Iran. The special session on Iran’s “deteriorating human rights situation” is due to kick off at 10:00 am (0900 GMT) in Geneva, with the new UN rights chief Volker Turk set to open the proceedings in his first appearance before the council. (https://news.yahoo.com/iran-crackdown-spotlight-un-rights-064528438.html) The meeting, requested by Germany and Iceland with the backing of more than 50 countries, follows two months of protests in Iran sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, after she was arrested for an alleged breach of the country’s strict dress rules for women based on Islamic sharia law.

Newsline: Thousands of global diplomats gather in Egypt to discuss climate change

The United Nations’ latest annual climate change conference, COP27, is set to kick off Monday at the luxurious resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, where thousands of leaders will engage in wide-ranging policy discussions. The conference comes one year after COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, where leaders from around the world, including nations with the highest emissions, signed a non-binding climate agreement resembling previous pacts. Shortly following the agreement, though, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres downplayed the agreement and paved the way for COP27. “It’s an important step, but it’s not enough,” he said at the time. “It’s time to go into emergency mode.” (https://www.foxnews.com/politics/cop27-thousands-global-diplomats-descend-ritzy-five-star-resort-egypt-solve-global-warming) Groups, including Greenpeace International, similarly criticized the agreement, calling it a “polite request.” Ahead of this year’s summit, which is scheduled to begin Monday and conclude on Nov. 18, high-ranking officials in the U.S. and other Western nations have reiterated the importance of solving global warming, which they characterized as the biggest threat facing humanity.

Newsline: Former world leaders say only diplomacy can solve world issues

Only dialogue and diplomacy can end the devastating war in Ukraine, say members of The Elders, a group of prominent former world leaders founded by Nelson Mandela. (https://www.usatoday.com/videos/news/nation/2022/11/05/global-statesmen-diplomacy-can-solve-world-issues/8271278001/) A total victory on the battlefield impossible for either warring party, they say.

Newsline: Indian PM hailed at UNGA for saying this is not time for war

French President Emmanuel Macron told world leaders at the UN General Assembly session that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was right when he told Russian President Vladimir Putin that this is not the time for war. Modi, who met Putin last week on the sidelines of the 22nd meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Uzbekistan’s Samarkand, had told the Russian leader that “today’s era is not of war”. He has spoken to Putin several times over the phone regarding this issue and underlined the importance of democracy, diplomacy and dialogue. “Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India was right when he said the time is not for war. It is not for revenge against the West or for opposing the West against the East. It is the collective time for our sovereign equal states to cope together with challenges we face,” Macron said during his address at the General Debate of the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. (https://www.msn.com/en-in/news/other/pm-modi-was-right-when-he-said-this-is-not-time-for-war-french-president-emmanuel-macron-at-unga/ar-AA123Buk) At the UNGA session on Tuesday, Macron expressed hope the international community can commit to the reform of the UN Security Council.

Newsline: UN General Assembly faces geopolitical divides

Geopolitical divides will be the focus of world leaders when they convene at the United Nations in New York this week, a gathering that is unlikely to yield any progress towards ending the Ukrainian conflict. “It would be naive to think that we are close to the possibility of a peace deal,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday in advance of the high-level meeting of the 193 member states, which starts on Tuesday. “The chances of a peace deal are minimal at the present moment.” Geopolitical divides, hardened by the seven-month-old war, are likely to be on full display as the United States and Western allies compete with Russia for diplomatic influence. Guterres said the geopolitical rifts were “the widest they have been since at least the Cold War” and “paralyzing the global response to the dramatic challenges we face” highlighting conflicts, climate, poverty, hunger, and inequality. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/9/18/ukraine-war-to-be-main-focus-at-unga-meeting) Russia and Ukraine are major grain and fertiliser exporters and the UN has blamed the war for the worsening food crisis that was already fuelled by climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. The United States will co-host a food security summit with the European Union and the African Union on the sidelines of the UN gathering, along with a COVID-19 global action plan meeting and a replenishment conference for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Newsline: China ambassador says U.N. report ‘closed door of cooperation’

China’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva said on Friday that Beijing would not cooperate with the U.N. human rights office following the release of a report on alleged human rights abuses in the far western region of Xinjiang. “The office closed the door of cooperation by releasing the so-called assessment,” Ambassador Chen Xu told reporters, describing the report released on Aug. 31 as “illegal and invalid”. (https://www.fxempire.com/news/article/china-ambassador-u-n-report-on-xinjiang-has-closed-door-of-cooperation-1122053) The report, which China had sought to bury, stipulates that “serious human rights violations have been committed” in China and said the detention of Uyghurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang may constitute crimes against humanity. China vigorously denies any abuses in Xinjiang. The report was released minutes before outgoing High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet ended her four-year term and followed her visit to the country in May. Previously, Bachelet had been accused by some rights activists of being too soft on China although the hard-hitting report helped redeem her credibility in the eyes of some. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is currently being run by a deputy pending the arrival in Geneva of Austria’s Volker Turk who was appointed on Thursday. An OHCHR spokesperson declined to provide an immediate comment on the Chinese ambassador’s remarks.

Newsline: UN chief taps Austrian diplomat as next rights chief

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has tapped the Austrian diplomat Volker Turk to be the next High Commissioner for Human Rights, according to a document sent Thursday to the General Assembly, which must approve the choice. The UN veteran would replace Michelle Bachelet, the former Chilean president who was appointed four years ago with the specific intent of having a powerful female politician in the role. “The secretary-general proposes to appoint Mr. Volker Turk (Austria) as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights,” Guterres wrote, in a letter seen by AFP. “The secretary-general trusts that the General Assembly will approve this appointment.” (https://www.msn.com/en-ph/news/world/un-chief-taps-volker-turk-as-next-rights-chief/ar-AA11BxmQ) Multiple sources said that Guterres had notified UN member states late on Wednesday that he wants Turk, who is currently serving as assistant secretary general for policy, in the challenging role. The General Assembly was expected to address the matter during a meeting later on Thursday or Friday, diplomatic sources said. The 57-year-old Turk has spent most of his career within the UN system, with a particular focus on refugee questions. He worked closely with Guterres back when the latter headed the UN refugee agency. Turk represented UNHCR in Malaysia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina before being assigned to the headquarters.

Newsline: UN envoy says won’t visit Myanmar again until allowed to meet Suu Kyi

The UN’s Myanmar special envoy on Monday vowed not to visit the country again unless she is allowed to meet ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi. “If I ever visit Myanmar again, it will only be if I can meet with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,” she told a seminar at the Singapore-based think-tank, the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, using a Burmese honorific for Suu Kyi. (https://news.yahoo.com/un-myanmar-envoy-says-wont-134552537.html) United Nations Special Envoy Noeleez Heyzer met with senior junta leaders in the capital last month during her first visit, 10 months after her appointment. The trip drew criticism from both the junta and the military’s opponents. She was denied access to detained democracy figurehead Suu Kyi, who has been sentenced to a total of two decades in prison. The UN envoy later irked junta officials who accused her of issuing a “one-sided statement” of what had been discussed. Days after Heyzer’s visit dozens of Myanmar civil society groups dismissed her trip as the “latest evidence of the historical ineffectualness” of UN envoys, and criticised her meeting with junta chief Min Aung Hlaing. They also called for her mandate to be terminated and for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to intervene personally in the crisis. Heyzer had called for an immediate end to violence and the release of all political prisoners, her office said at the time. More than 2,200 people have been killed and more than 15,000 arrested in the military’s crackdown on dissent since it seized power in February 2021, according to a local rights group. Diplomatic efforts to resolve Myanmar’s bloody impasse led by the UN and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations regional bloc have made little headway, with the generals refusing to engage with opponents.

Newsline: Senegal’s diplomat appointed new U.N. Libya envoy

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres has appointed Senegalese diplomat and former government minister Abdoulaye Bathily as his Libya envoy, the U.N. Libya mission said in a statement on Saturday. (https://news.yahoo.com/u-n-libya-envoy-senegals-093814803.html) Bathily succeeds Jan Kubis, who stepped down from the role late last year as diplomacy aimed at resolving Libya’s longstanding conflict faltered in the run-up to an aborted national election.

Newsline: China condemns UN report on human rights

A United Nations report accusing China of committing grave human rights abuses in Xinjiang has triggered a fiery response from Beijing. On Wednesday, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released a 48-page report that found “serious human rights violations” in the Chinese government’s crackdown on ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region. The assessment, which the international body said was “based on a rigorous review of documentary material currently available to the Office,” took years to finish and was published minutes before U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet’s four-year term ended. Just hours after the report was made public, Liu Yuyin, spokesperson for the Chinese mission to Geneva, released a statement dismissing the findings as a mere attempt to tarnish China’s reputation. “It is completely a politicized document that disregards facts, and reveals explicitly the attempt of some Western countries and anti-China forces to use human rights as a political tool,” the statement read. (https://news.yahoo.com/long-awaited-un-report-human-223944642.html) On Thursday, China’s Ambassador to the United Nations Zhang Jun spoke in a video expressing his government’s condemnation of the report, which he claims was made “to undermine China’s stability and obstruct China’s development.”