Over 1,000 rights advocates killed in 3 years: UN chief

UN Secretary General António Guterres

By Bayram Altug

GENEVA: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday said more than a thousand human rights advocates were killed over the past three years.

Speaking at the opening of the 40th session of the UN Human Rights Council session in Switzerland’s Geneva, Guterres pointed out that human rights were abused across the world.

“However, I don’t lose my hope,” he said, adding that there were strong human rights and social justice movements across the globe despite the crises.

“More than a thousand human rights defenders and journalists were killed over the past three years,” he said.

However, the secretary-general didn’t touch upon the incident of Jamal Khashoggi — a Saudi journalist who was brutally killed in the Kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.

He noted that an abrupt increase in hostilities and hate speech against Muslims have been witnessed and said he has assigned Adama Dieng, his special advisor on genocide prevention, to lead the efforts in fighting hate speech.

On the issue of climate change, he said that more than 90 percent of the people in urban areas inhaled “insecure” air, and some 7 million people lost their lives annually due to air pollution.

The session, which is expected to attract the highest participation in recent years, focusses on numerous human rights topics in various parts of the world.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will also address the session. He is later expected to join the UN’s Disarmament Conference in Geneva.

The session will also provide reports regarding the humanitarian situations in Syria, South Sudan, Burundi, and the occupied Palestine territories.

Furthermore, the session will focus on torture, migration problem, freedom of belief, combating terrorism, war crimes, women and children rights.AA

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