At a meeting with European and Latin American leaders in Brussels this July, Brazil’s President Lula da Silva reiterated the bold commitment
he had made in his first international speech
as president-elect, when he attended the COP27 climate summit
in November 2022: bringing Amazon deforestation down to zero by 2030.
“The problems transgender people face start from their homes as their parents, especially fathers and brothers, look them down upon and disrespect them,” says 20-year-old Pari Gul.
Eswatini heads to the polls soon, with elections scheduled for September. But there’s nothing remotely democratic in prospect. The country remains ruled by King Mswati III, Africa’s last absolute monarch, who presides over Eswatini with an iron fist. Mswati dissolved
parliament on 11 July, confident there’s little chance of people who disagree with him winning representation.
As human rights increasingly deteriorate, rights defenders are being violently suppressed. Abducted, detained, tortured, and humiliated, many now live one day at a time. They have been told, in no uncertain times, that anything could happen. They are now asking the global community to stand as a witness.
We all know and agree that patience is a virtue. It is indeed. With one exception.
In the face of a child’s suffering, impatience is the highest virtue. Or as we say in the spirit of Education Cannot Wait: “We must be unapologetically impatient” in our collective goal to reach 224 million crisis-affected children and adolescents with quality education.
On the night of 17 July 1998, the outcome of the Diplomatic Conference convened to create the International Criminal Court was still uncertain. Hundreds of state representatives and civil society organizations assembled in the FAO headquarters in Rome, holding their breath in anticipation.
The war in Ukraine continues unabated; young men are sacrificed on battlefields, towns laid waste by aerial attacks, the threat of nuclear disasters is looming. People within an often formerly friendly inclined Europe are now wondering if Vladimir Putin has gone insane. The war in Ukraine is generally called “Putin’s war” and in April 2021 Putin signed a legislation providing him the right to run for two more consecutive terms, thus he could stay in power till 2036.
There seems to be no end in sight to the war in Ukraine. On the contrary it continues to escalate. The latest ratchet up has been the decision by the USA to supply the Ukrainian army with cluster bombs. These are nasty weapons which scatter and explode over a wide area. They are specifically designed to kill people rather that destroy infrastructure, military installations or communication hubs. They also have a sting in the tail – some of the bomblets remain unexploded, effectively becoming anti-personnel mines. These can turn wide swathes of territory into virtual no-go areas.
People went to the polls in Sierra Leone on 24 June to pick a president, parliament and municipal representatives. Results were quickly announced and the president sworn in for a second term. But a cloud of doubt lingers.
When Guatemalans went to the polls on 25 June, distrust and disillusionment were rife. First place in the presidential contest was claimed by none of the candidates: it went to invalid votes, at 17 per cent. Many didn’t bother, resulting in an abstention rate over 40 per cent.
All my life was wasted, said Anwar*, as he told me recently about his traumatic experiences living under the Islamic State (IS) armed group in Northeast Syria.
Around 2018, when Anwar was 14 or 15 years old, his father, a member of IS, forced Anwar to train with the group as a young teenager. He even made Anwar watch as he inflicted brutal punishments on people who broke IS’ rules.
How come that in a world where technology is -or is about to be- able to detect an ant in a jungle, the traffickers of death continue to carry out their lucrative criminal activities everywhere and in all fields, from weapons to prostitution, enslavement and drugs, to deadly fake medicines, through oil, gas and poisoned food.
The violence keeps coming in Myanmar, under military rule since February 2021. The junta stands accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, with evidence of systematic use of killings, rape, torture and other gross human rights violations in its attempt to suppress forces demanding a return to democracy.
The sanctions against Russian oligarchs who hold billions of dollars have mostly failed to have a real impact beyond freezing a few yachts and properties. So, what went wrong? Now we know.
Sexual violence is unacceptable in any shape or form, in all contexts, including those of conflict.
As we come together on the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict
, we must reflect together on the pain, horror, fear and inhumanity that rape, sexual abuse, trafficking, slavery, child marriage and other forms of conflict-related sexual violence bring to a young child’s life, hence, our collective humanity.
If you’ve never heard of the Cybercrime Convention, you’re not alone. And if you’re wondering whether an international treaty to tackle cybercrime is a good idea, you’re in good company too.
As we head into June, we will commemorate a number of important international days that call for much-needed support to protect refugees, end child labour, stop sexual violence in conflict and ensure human rights for the innocent children victims of aggression.
Worldwide, 160 million children are engaged in child labour. Without access to safe, quality educational opportunities, their dreams of a better future have been cut short. As we commemorate the World Day Against Child Labour
, we must continue to support their protection from child abuse and violations – and the right to 12 years of quality education – for every girl and boy on the planet.
Nothing was more predictable than repression. Merely for holding candles and flowers, people were taken away
by Hong Kong’s police.
The occasion was the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, 4 June 1989. Hong Kong was until recently home to mass annual vigils where thousands gathered to keep alive the memory of that day. But that’s all gone now in the crackdown that followed large-scale protests for democracy
that erupted in 2019.
Children are not targets. Children are not soldiers. Children are not weapons. As we commemorate the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression
, we call on leaders everywhere to embrace the commitments outlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child
and the Safe Schools Declaration
to ensure girls and boys everywhere are able to reach their full potential without fear, without intimidation and without violence.
Turkey’s election hasn’t produced the change many thought was on the cards. Now women’s groups, LGBTQI+ people and independent journalists are among those fearing the worse.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has led the country for two decades, first as prime minister and then as president, prevailed in the 28 May runoff poll, taking around 52.2 per cent of the vote, with his opponent, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, on 47.8 per cent.