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UN urges world action against use of women by extremists

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AS the world celebrates the 2015 International Women’s Day, United Nations (UN) Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, has called for more targeted action towards preventing the use of women and girls by extremist groups.

   Addressing newsmen at the UN Headquarters in New York at the weekend, his spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said Ki Moon wants the international community to translate its outrage into meaningful action, including humanitarian aid, psycho-social services, support for livelihoods and efforts to bring perpetrators to justice.

   “From Nigeria and Somalia to Syria and Iraq, the bodies of women have been transformed into battlegrounds for warriors carrying out specific and systematic strategies, often on the basis of ethnicity or religion,” he was quoted to have said, calling on the world to respond to the targeting of women and girls by violent extremists. 

   Commending the commemoration of the 20th International Women’s Day, Ki Moon said some progress had been made over the past years, with more access in education for girls, more presence in businesses, governments and global organizations, as well as progress in maternal health.

   However, he noted that even in societies at peace, too many girls and women were still targets of abuse, and that discrimination remained a thick barrier that must be shattered.

   Meanwhile, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva has urged the Indonesian Government to refrain from executing individuals convicted of drug offences by exercising its constitutional authority on clemency.

   The UN website quoted the office as saying that six people found guilty of drug offences were regrettably executed in January and others due to face the firing squad imminently.

   While supporting Indonesia’s relentless efforts against the scourge of drug trafficking, the office stated, however, that capital punishment was not the way to do so, and “by taking this course, Indonesia sadly will weaken its own position when advocating for its own nationals who sometimes face the death penalty abroad.”

 It noted that in countries that still maintain death penalty, international human rights jurisprudence requires that capital punishment may only be imposed for the ‘most serious crimes’ of murder or intentional killing, while drug-related offences do not fall under this threshold of “most serious crimes.”

   To that end, it urged the Indonesian authorities to reinstate the moratorium on the death penalty, which ended in 2013, and conduct a thorough review of all requests for pardon with a view to commutation of sentence.



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