News in Brief 09 December 2015 (PM)

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A young resident of Santa Rita, Bolivia during Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s visit. This year’s Human Rights Day is devoted to the launch of a year-long campaign for the 50th anniversary of the two International Covenants on Human Rights. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Food trade rules must balance national priorities with global goal of  fighting hunger

Rules to expand the international trade of food and agriculture products must support national and global objectives related to food security and development.

The recommendation comes in a new report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

As trade varies enormously due to factors such as countries' incomes and land ownership structures, the report seeks to achieve what FAO calls "a better balance between national priorities and the collective good."

The UN agency says the challenge is to ensure that the expected increase in trade supports the elimination of hunger, malnutrition and lack of access to food.

Europe urged to respect human rights for refugees and migrants

European countries are being urged to honour their international commitments to guarantee basic human rights for refugees and migrants.

The appeal was made by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the head of the Council of Europe in a joint statement ahead of Human Rights Day on Thursday.

The two leaders also called for governments, civil society, and the media to do more to counter racism and xenophobia which they say can undermine support for asylum and protection

Some 900,000 people have entered Europe via the Mediterranean Sea this year, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

The majority are from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and other conflict areas.

Treaties provide "bedrock" for human rights

Two 50-year-old treaties are "vital tools" to ensure freedoms are upheld and promoted, the UN Human Rights High Commissioner has said.

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein called the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) the "bed rock" of international human rights law.

The covenants refer to numerous rights, such as the right to liberty, security, education and health, as well as equality between men and women and the elimination of all forms of discrimination.

The UN human rights chief said they can help the world address challenges such as climate change, terrorism and the rise in hate speech.

His comments come in a message for Human Rights Day.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2’19″

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