Tuesday’s Daily Brief: Venezuela-Colombia baby breakthrough, Italy piles on rescue boat pressure, States must combat hate, Kashmir rights latest and a musical plea to combat CAR hunger

© UNICEF/UN0247683/Arcos A 21-year old mother travels alone with her three-month-old son from Venezuela. (August 2018)

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Tuesday’s main stories: Colombia offers nationality to born of Venezuelan parents; ‘€1 million’ fines for rescue boats; States must do more to stop hate attacks;  Egypt terror attack condemned by Security Council, UN chief; Kashmir developments risk people’s rights; and striking a chord for 1.8 million hungry Central Africans.

Colombia offers nationality rights to Venezuelan children born there: UN hails ‘very important step’

The UN migration agency, IOMhas welcomed Colombia’s decision on Monday to grant nationality status to more than 24,000 Venezuelan babies born inside the country after their parents fled across the border.

“This resolution is a contribution towards regular and safe migration, which hopefully will facilitate the recognition of the fundamental rights of Venezuelan children, as well as contribute to their integration into the society,” said IOMAna Durán Salvatierra, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Colombia, said on Tuesday.

The new decree announced by President Iván Duque, will enter into force on 20 August and will be applied to children born inside Colombia since 19 August, 2015.

Read our story here.

Security Council condemns ‘cowardly terrorist attack’ in Cairo

The UN Security Council has added its condemnation of Sunday’s terrorist attack in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, which left at least 20 dead and many others injured.

In a Press Statement released on Tuesday, Council members said they “condemned in the strongest terms the cowardly terrorist attack” and expressed their deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of Egypt.

On Monday night, UN chief António Guterres said via his Spokesperson, that he strongly condemned the attack, and extended “his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, as well as to the people and Government of Egypt.”

Sunday’s attack involved a car which drove at high speed against the traffic, crashing into other vehicles outside a cancer hospital. It sparked a fire that meant nearby buildings had to be evacuated.

Council members “reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.”

All States have ‘primary responsibility’ to protect against hate attacks: UN’s Bachelet

The UN’s top rights official, Michelle Bachelet, has added her voice to condemnation of the weekend shootings in the United States, insisting on Tuesday that “not just the US but all States”, should do more to stop discrimination.

Speaking in Geneva, Ms. Bachelet’s spokesperson, Rupert Colville, welcomed US rejection of “racism, hatred and white supremacy” in the wake of the two tragedies which claimed at least 29 lives in Texas and Ohio on Saturday.

Reflecting on measures that might stop a growing number of hate crimes in the U.S. and elsewhere – and their amplification via Social Media – Mr. Colville urged online communications companies and governments to work together.

Our story is here.

‘€1 million’ fines for rescue boats prompts UN concern for future sea operations

A move by Italian lawmakers to impose fines of up to €1 million on vessels and organizations carrying out search and rescue operations off the country’s coastline, sparked a new warning on Tuesday from the UN that the measure risks deterring future lifesaving efforts in the Mediterranean.

Speaking in Geneva, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) spokesperson Charlie Yaxley explained that the legislative move came at a time when other European countries had largely stopped sea rescue activities.

So far this year, nearly 4,000 people have made the treacherous crossing to Europe via the so-called Central Mediterranean Route from North Africa to Italy, Mr. Yaxley said, nearly 80 per cent less than in the first seven months of last year.

Here’s our full coverage.

Kashmir developments risk further impacting on people’s rights: UN

The Indian Government’s decision to revoke part of the Constitution relating to the special status of Indian-administered Kashmir risks worsening democratic freedoms there, the UN human rights office (OHCHR) said on Tuesday.

Amid reports that “hardly any information at all” is emerging from the Indian-administered side of the long-disputed territory, spokesperson Rupert Colville cited a UN report alleging that authorities suppressed communication networks, conducted arbitrary detentions, and punished opponents.

“We are seeing again blanket telecommunications restrictions – perhaps more blanket than we’ve ever seen before – the reported arbitrary detention of political leaders and restrictions on peaceful assembly”, he said. “These restrictions will prevent the people of Indian-Administered Kashmir and their elected representatives from participating fully in democratic debate about the future status of Jammu and Kashmir.”

Tensions over Kashmir – which rose sharply after a deadly suicide bombing in February targeting Indian security forces in Pulwama – continue to have a “severe impact” on people’s rights, including the right to life, according to the UN human rights office.

India and Pakistan fought several conflicts over the disputed region and the UN has been mandated since 1949, to monitor the ceasefire between the two countries.

Musician’s call from the heart for 1.8 million hungry people in CAR

Speaking – and singing – at the UN in Geneva, Central African musician Ozaguin warned on Tuesday that 1.8 million Central Africans, or nearly half the population, do not know where their next meal is coming from.

The singer-songwriter told journalists how widespread hunger has left people vulnerable to exploitation by armed gangs, echoing a warning from the World Food Programme (WFP) that hundreds of thousands of people are too afraid of insecurity to access their land, or hunt for food.

More than 465,000 of the worst off, live in areas where armed clashes still occur, despite the signing of a peace accord between the Government and more than a dozen opposition groups in February.

WFP currently feeds 600,000 people a month in CAR, but it has warned that needs are massive.

Together with Ozaguin, the UN agency is warning that August is typically the month in which food insecurity is at its highest in CAR.

To reach 800,000 people by the end of the year, it needs $35.5 million.

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