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UN Human Rights expert asks Pakistani Authorities to locate and Protect 4 Disappeared Activists

Waqas Goraya, Asim Saeed, Salman Haider and Ahmed Raza Naseer  are the four  activists who went missing this month

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FILE -(representational image) Pakistani villagers living at the Line of Control between Pakistan-Indian Kashmir, Chakoti, build concrete house in Pakistan, Nov. 21, 2016. VOA
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United Nations, Jan 12, 2017: An expert of United Nations human rights asked the Pakistani authorities to make it a top priority to locate and protect four disappeared human rights and social media campaigners, saying no government should tolerate attacks on its citizens.

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“I strongly urge the Government of Pakistan to take every step possible to locate the four missing activists, a first step toward re-emphasizing its commitment to freedom of expression at the beginning of the year,” said David Kaye, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of expression, in a news release from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

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Waqas Goraya, Asim Saeed, Salman Haider and Ahmed Raza Naseer  are the four  activists who went missing this month. They had been accused of promoting blasphemy, a criminal offense in Pakistan.

The human rights expert said “No government should tolerate attacks on its citizens.”

“By making the investigation of these disappearances an urgent priority, the Pakistani authorities can send a strong signal that they take seriously the responsibility for the life and security of all of its citizens, particularly in cases involving freedom of expression.”

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“Free expression campaigners and experts have long called for the abolition of criminal blasphemy provisions in Pakistan, which may carry the death penalty,” Kaye said to PTI.

“Not only are such laws incompatible with international human rights law, but they also facilitate threats by state and non-state actors seeking to target expression.”

The Special Rapporteur stressed that “all States have an obligation to promote a diverse space and culture for expression, but such culture does not create itself.

prepared by Saptaparni Goon of NewsGram. Twitter: @saptaparni_goon

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Earth Will Reach 1.5 Degrees Above Pre-Industrial Levels By 2030

Countries in the southern hemisphere will be among the worse off.

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The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on Monday said the planet will reach the crucial threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2030, precipitating the risk of extreme drought, wildfires, floods and food shortages for hundreds of millions of people.

In a report, the IPCC said that governments around the world must take “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” to avoid disastrous levels of global warming, CNN reported.

The date, which falls well within the lifetime of many people alive today, is based on current levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

The planet is already two-thirds of the way there, with global temperatures having warmed about 1 degree Celsius. Avoiding going even higher will require significant action in the next few years, the report said.

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Global net emissions of carbon dioxide would need to fall by 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030 and reach “net zero” around 2050 in order to keep the warming around 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Lowering emissions to this degree, while technically possible, would require widespread changes in energy, industry, buildings, transportation and cities, according to the report.

“One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1 degree Celsius of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes,” said Panmao Zhai, co-chair of IPCC Working Group I.

Coral reefs will also be drastically effected, with between 70 and 90 per cent expected to die off, including Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

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Countries in the southern hemisphere will be among the worse off, the report said, adding “projected to experience the largest impacts on economic growth due to climate change should global warming increase”.

“Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5 degrees C or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some eco-systems,” CNN quoted Hans-Otto Pörtner, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II, as saying.

Monday’s report is three years in the making and is a direct result of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

Also Read: Paris Adopts Climate Action Plan, Aims At Achieving A ‘Zero Carbon’ Future

In the Paris accord, 197 countries agreed to the goal of holding global temperatures “well below” 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

More than 90 authors from 40 countries were involved in leading the report, helped by 133 contributing authors. (IANS)