This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Global cholera surge likely accelerated by climate change, warns UN health agency
Climate change has most likely driven an “unprecedented” number of larger and more deadly cholera outbreaks around the world this year, the UN health agency, WHO, has warned.
Data points to infection hotspots in around 30 countries, whereas in the past five years, fewer than 20 countries reported outbreaks, on average.
The World Health Organization’s cholera expert, Dr. Philippe Barboza, told journalists in Geneva that “the map is under threat (from cholera) everywhere”:
“The situation is quite unprecedented, for not only we are seeing more outbreaks, but these outbreaks are larger and more deadly than the ones we have seen in past years…Most of these larger outbreaks and the fact that they are simultaneously occurring – which makes the situation much more complex – is a direct impact of the increase in adverse climate troubles.”
Dr. Barboza explained that the uptick in cholera has been happening across the Horn of Africa and the Sahel.
Many other countries have also been affected, including Haiti, Lebanon, Malawi and Syria, where there are also large outbreaks.
In Pakistan, where previous years have seen only sporadic cases of cholera, there have been more than 500,000 reported cases of watery diarrhoea this year after devastating summer floods.
Afghanistan: rights experts urge Taliban to halt public floggings and executions
Public floggings and executions in Afghanistan must stop immediately, top UN-appointed independent rights experts have urged Taliban leaders.
The appeal follows the resumption of such punishments since 18 November.
More than 100 men and women have been flogged in several provinces since that date, the experts said, noting that each person received between 20 and 100 lashes for alleged theft, “illegitimate” relationships or for violating social behaviour codes.
The experts, who report to the Human Rights Council, said that on 7 December, the Taliban publicly executed a man in Farah city, likely the first time since they staged the military takeover last August.
Such punishments “violate universal principles prohibiting torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment”, the experts maintained, in a call for an immediate moratorium on the death penalty.
Scottish Parliament urged to adopt gender recognition reform
To Scotland, where a top human rights expert has urged the government to pass a new law offering legal protection to people based on their gender identity, including trans women.
Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the UN-appointed Independent Expert on the subject, said in a statement that he was worried that stigma and prejudice against trans women could be behind efforts to postpone consideration of the Bill, or weaken it.
Mr Madrigal-Borloz, who is the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, described trans women as “among the most vilified, disenfranchised, and stigmatized people on this planet”.
He dismissed “unsubstantiated myths” in the past that “falsely portrayed lesbian women and gay men as predatory – causing great harm”.
Today, the same “harmful narratives have (been) repackaged and redeployed against trans women”, Mr. Madrigal-Borloz maintained.
He insisted that UN rights bodies have constantly found that legal recognition of gender identity through self-identification to be “the most efficient and appropriate way to ensure the enjoyment of human rights”.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.