When will secretary-general of United Nations find his voice on human rights?; new report on water crisis in Iraq; pressure on China needed over abuse of Muslims in Xinjiang; Chinese businesses are changing Cambodia, not for the better; besieged Burundi’s journalists fight on; security forces in Cameroon kill civilians and rape woman; and important news on rescue of people in Mediterranean Sea.
António Guterres has been virtually silent on even the most egregious rights violations since 2016, when he became secretary general of the United Nations. "Whether it was the Saudi government murdering the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Trump administration separating migrant children from their parents, or Russian-Syrian forces bombing Syrian hospitals, Guterres has steered clear of pointed criticism of those responsible. He speaks almost invariably in broad generalities. It’s time to ditch this approach," says HRW's executive director Ken Roth.
Authorities in Iraq have failed to ensure for almost 30 years that residents in Basra (famous as the former 'Venice of the Middle East") have sufficient safe drinking water, resulting in on-going health concerns, Human Rights Watch said in a report and video released today. The situation culminated in an acute water crisis that sent at least 118,000 people to hospital in 2018 and led to violent protests.
Chinese influence resulting in human rights abuses is not just a problem in Xinjiang, but also in countries in the region, such as Cambodia.
Security forces in Cameroon have killed at least four civilians and raped one woman since mid-June during security operations in the North-West region. Those killed include an elderly man with a physical disability and a young man with a mental disability.