This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
In Saudi Arabia, executions ‘almost daily’: UN Human Rights office
The UN human rights office expressed deep concern on Tuesday at the high number of executions in Saudi Arabia, which have been happening “almost daily” in the last two weeks.
Seventeen men have been put to death since 10 November, ending a 21-month unofficial moratorium on the use of the death penalty for drug-related offences.
According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, a Jordanian man, Hussein abo al-Kheir, may be at risk of imminent execution, too.
His case has been examined previously by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which cited grave concerns about to his right to a fair trial.
In an appeal to the Saudi Government to quash Mr. al-Kheir’s death sentence, the UN rights office maintained that the resumption of executions for drug-related offences was deeply regrettable – “all the more so …after a wide majority of States in the UN General Assembly called for a moratorium on the death penalty worldwide”.
Iran: 300 people killed in protests since 16 September – UN rights office
More than 40 people have been killed in Iran in the past week, amid ongoing protests sparked two months ago by the death of Jina Mahsa Amini in custody after her arrest for not wearing her hijab properly.
According to the UN human rights office, OHCHR, security officers reportedly responded “forcefully” to demonstrations in several mainly Kurdish cities on Monday evening, including Javanrud and Saqqez, said OHCHR spokesperson Jeremy Laurence.
He added that two 16-year-old boys were among six people killed at the weekend, and that there is deep concern that the authorities have refused to release the bodies of the dead to their families.
“With respect to bodies not being returned to their families, of course that’s of grave concern to us. What is the motive behind that, I’m not sure. But the families have the right to have the bodies of their loved ones returned to them. It’s cruel that they’re not.”
Protesters have been killed in 25 of Iran’s 31 provinces, including more than 100 in Sistan and Baluchistan.
The UN rights office has urged the Iranian authorities to address people’s demands for equality, dignity and rights, instead of using unnecessary or disproportionate force to suppress the protests.
UN chief urges action to stamp out violence against women
Ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women this Friday, UN chief António Guterres urged all nations to “take a stand” and consign such abuse to the history books.
Every 11 minutes, a woman or girl is killed by an intimate partner or family member, the Secretary-General said on Tuesday, before adding that even more physical and verbal abuse has resulted from COVID-19 and economic turmoil.
Activists who are calling for change and who help survivors of violence need more support, Mr. Guterres insisted, as he called on governments to increase funding by 50 per cent to women’s rights movements by 2026.
Without positive action from Governments to end the scourge, the UN Secretary-General insisted that the discrimination, violence and abuse that “half of humanity” faces would continue to come “at a steep cost”.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.