Human Rights in Ukraine, COVID-19, drought… Thursday’s news

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The UN Human Rights Council on Thursday approved a resolution to establish an investigation into possible war crimes committed around Kyiv.

The resolution strengthens the mandate of the fact-finding mission created in March, taking into account the atrocities that have been uncovered since then. The text “strongly condemns the abuses and violations” that were committed in the Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy regions under the control of the Russian armed forces in late February and March 2022, “which may amount to war crimes ”.

The vote was approved with 33 members in favor, 12 abstentions and two votes against (from China and Eritrea). Russia was suspended from the Council last month and decided not to participate in the session as an observer.

UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet took part in the session before the vote, saying that a thousand bodies have been recovered in the outskirts of Kyiv in recent weeks.

“The scale of the killings, including evidence of summary executions in the northern areas of Kyiv, It is creepy. Although we have information on 300 of these murders, the numbers will continue to rise as new evidence becomes available. These killings of civilians often appear to be intentional, carried out by snipers and soldiers,” he maintained.

The resolution also asks Bachelet to provide an update at the Council’s June session on the violations in the city of Mariupol.

WHO/Blink Media/Fabeha Monir

A WHO infection prevention and control specialist advises nurses at a health center in Kutupalong camp on how to safely care for COVID-19 patients without exposing themselves to the virus.

The number of deaths from COVID-19 reported in Europe has surpassed two million, while the WHO warns that cases are rising again in southern Africa and other regions.

The European regional office of the WHO says that, although the figure of two million deceased “is devastating”, represents a fraction of the totalas the recent WHO report on excess mortality during the pandemic has shown.

The global number of COVID cases continues to decline, but the trend of the last week varies by region as the Americas and Africa have reported increases.

In Southern Africa cases have increased by 32% from the previous week, breaking a two-month decline in infections.

The WHO director general participated this Thursday in the World Summit on COVID-19 co-sponsored by the president of the United States, Joe Biden.

“The pandemic is not over anywhere until it is over everywhere”, insisted Dr. Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus, who said that, in fact, cases are increasing in more than 70 countries.

Tedros explained that testing rates around the world are plummeting, preventing us from seeing the evolution of the virus, and recalled that almost a billion people in the lowest-income countries remain unvaccinated. For this reason, he insisted, we must continue to support all countries so that they reach 70% immunization as soon as possible.

Unsplash/Mathew MacQuarrie

The WHO states that global health spending and lost productivity due to tobacco are equivalent to $1.4 trillion annually.

WHO asks governments to ban the “ecological laundering” of the tobacco industry

The World Health Organization and the STOP organization called on governments to ban the “greenwashing” activities of the tobacco industry.

“Governments and citizens around the world need to be aware that the tobacco industry’s greenwashing is on the rise and needs to be countered. Despite the industry’s attempts to improve its image, tobacco use remains one of the main causes of premature death and an important cause of environmental damage”, states the report.

They also call on NGOs and civil society not to “support greenwashing” and to reject associations of environmental activities with the tobacco industry, which could be used to help companies in this sector present themselves as an ally of the environment and increase their influence.

© UNICEF/Zerihun Sewunet

Displaced families affected by drought, in the Somali Region of Ethiopia.

Humanity is “at a crossroads” on drought

Humanity is “at a crossroads” when it comes to drought management and there is an urgent need to accelerate mitigation using all possible tools, according to a new report from the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

The report calls for a global commitment to drought preparedness and resilience in all regions of the world to be a top priority.

“The facts and figures in this publication all point in the same direction: an upward trajectory in the duration of droughts and the severity of the impacts, affecting not only societies but also the ecological systems on which humanity depends. survival of all life, including that of our own species,” said Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of the Convention.

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