United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said on Tuesday planned Guantánamo war crimes trials fell short of international standards and handing down death penalties would be ''just not acceptable''.
The United Nations Human Rights Council will hold a special session on May 23 to examine how the world's food crisis is undermining the right to food for millions of people, officials said on Friday. The rights to adequate food and freedom from hunger are enshrined in international law as basic, universal human rights.
More than 1 400 would-be migrants, mostly Somalis and Ethiopians, have drowned off Yemen this year trying to cross the Gulf of Aden on rickety boats run by brutal smugglers. About 28 300 people leaving northern Somalia, mainly Somalis and Ethiopians, have made it to Yemen's shores on 300 boats this year.
The fate of the United Nations human rights investigator for Sudan, who has reported war crimes in Darfur, hangs in the balance this week as African and Islamic countries seek to end her mandate. African and Islamic countries told the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday that conditions in Darfur had improved.
The United Nations human rights office on Tuesday accused forces allied with Sudan's government of mass abduction and rape of women and girls in Darfur, acts it said could constitute war crimes. Its latest report, based on testimony from victims and witnesses, called on Khartoum to investigate reports that about 50 women were forced into ''sexual slavery''.
The United Nations Human Rights Committee on Friday called on Sudan to prosecute war crimes committed in Darfur and to ensure that no support is given to militias that engage in ''ethnic cleansing''. The body of 18 independent experts voiced concern that Sudan had not carried out a thorough and independent probe into serious human rights violations.
Up to 400 people, far more than previously feared, were killed in Chad during a cross-border attack by Sudanese Janjaweed militia about 10 days ago, the United Nations refugee agency said on Tuesday. The estimated toll followed a visit to the remote area on Sunday by a group of United Nations agencies which described the scene there as ''apocalyptic''.
Tobacco-related diseases including cancers and heart disease will kill 6,4-million people a year by 2015, 50% more than than HIV/Aids, a study said on Tuesday. But the HIV/Aids epidemic will be the leading cause of illness and disability in low- and middle-income countries by then and take an increasing number of lives worldwide, it said.
HIV infection is rising in every region of the world and most worryingly in countries such as Uganda and Thailand, which had been heralded as success stories in the fight against Aids, the United Nations said on Tuesday while praising South Africa's recent pledge to do better against the disease.