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UN concerned over continuing political violence in Nepal

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UN human rights spokesman Rupert Colville

Kathmandu: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Rupert Colville on Tuesday expressed concern over reports from Nepal of continuing political violence, saying a change of approach was the need of the hour. A day after seven security personnel and three protesters were reportedly killed in Nepal, Colville said there was a clear risk that the protests and violence would continue to feed off each other in the coming days unless all sides change their approach.

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www.un.org

On Tuesday, western Nepal remained tense with curfew imposed in several parts of the country and some districts declared riot-affected areas. The victims included the two-year-old son of a police officer killed in Monday’s violence in Tikapur, Kailai while protesters demanded a separate Tharu state. This is in addition to the deaths of five protesters during widespread demonstrations since an August 8 agreement by political parties on redrawing internal state boundaries.

“The agreement was the product of extended negotiations to draw up a new constitution further to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the 10-year internal conflict in 2006. Since the political agreement was reached, increasingly violent protests and strikes against the proposed delineation have taken place throughout the country,” said Colville in a statement. The rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly are essential elements in the promotion of democracy and human rights, he said, adding that likewise, protests should be carried out in a peaceful manner. “We urge the government of Nepal to create a climate where minority or dissenting views or beliefs are respected, and security forces only employ force as a last resort and in full accordance with the standards laid out under international law for maintaining public order, including detailed guidelines governing the use of live ammunition,” Colville added. “Moreover, protesters should not pursue violent confrontations with the security services,” he said.

Urging political leaders and protesters to sit down together to find a peaceful solution to the current situation before the rising violence spirals out of control, the UN high commissioner said: “We fully support the call of the Nepal National Human Rights Commission for an independent, thorough and impartial investigation into all deaths and injuries resulting from the alleged use of disproportionate force by security personnel, as well as into the deaths of the seven security personnel killed on Monday.”

(IANS)

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UN: World Showing Lack of Ambition in Reducing Inequality, Countering Climate Change

The natural environment is deteriorating at an alarming rate: sea levels are rising; ocean acidification is accelerating

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climate change, reducing inequality
UN document stresses that 75 per cent of children who suffer from stunted growth and physical development live in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Pixabay

The world’s governments are showing a lack of ambition in pursuing the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially in terms of reducing inequality and countering climate change, the United Nations said in a report published Tuesday.

The findings were presented at the opening of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, which brings together some 2,000 participants from around the world to evaluate progress toward meeting the 17 SDGs that the world body’s 193 member-states set in 2015, the Efe news reported.

Time is running short to take effective action on climate change, the head of UN Economic and Social Affairs, Liu Zhenmin, said. “The challenges highlighted in this report are global problems that require global solutions. Just as problems are interrelated, the solutions to poverty, inequality, climate change and other global challenges are also interlinked,” he said.

climate change, reducing inequality
The natural environment is deteriorating at an alarming rate: sea levels are rising; ocean acidification is accelerating. Pixabay

While the report notes some progress, including lower levels of extreme poverty, expanded immunization, improved access to electricity and a 49 per cent reduction in mortality among children 5 and under, the emphasis is on the need for greater urgency.

“It is abundantly clear that a much deeper, faster and more ambitious response is needed to unleash the social and economic transformation needed to achieve our 2030 goals,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement.

“The natural environment is deteriorating at an alarming rate: sea levels are rising; ocean acidification is accelerating; the last four years have been the warmest on record; one million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction; and land degradation continues unchecked,” Guterres said.

climate change, reducing inequality
Climate change it says is worsening the ability of people to get enough to eat. Pixabay

Liu said that climate change remains the greatest obstacle to “our shared prosperity,” as extreme weather affects agriculture and, by extension, efforts to reduce hunger.

ALSO READ: Sanders and Ocasio- Cortez Teaming Up on Plan to Designate Climate Change as Emergency

The UN document stresses that 75 per cent of children who suffer from stunted growth and physical development live in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, while people residing in at-risk states are twice as likely to lack basic sanitation and four times more likely to be without reliable access to potable water.

Looking forward, the report said that steps to combat climate change can also help in reducing poverty and inequality. In that regard, Liu said that moving toward renewable, non-polluting sources of energy will in turn begin to reverse deforestation, just as sustainable agriculture can ease both hunger and want, as nearly 80 per cent of people living in extreme poverty are residents of rural areas. (IANS)