News in Brief 22 January 2016 (AM)

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The rainbow flag waves in the wind. UN File Photo/Benson Kua

Malawi: Failure to prosecute anti-gay case sends "dangerous message"

The failure by authorities in Malawi to prosecute a political party spokesperson for making derogatory comments about homosexuals sends "a dangerous message," the UN human rights office has stated.

Kenneth Msonda, spokesperson for the People's Party, had recently described gay and lesbian people as "worse than dogs" and also called for them to be killed.

The comments were published on his personal Facebook page and also repeated in media interviews.

Although he was charged for inciting others to break the law and was due to appear in court on Friday, the case was dropped.

Rupert Colville is spokesperson for the UN human rights office.

"We are concerned that the failure to prosecute this case sends a dangerous message that inciting others to kill gay people is legitimate and will be tolerated by the authorities–in effect encouraging violent threats and attacks on the gay and lesbian community in Malawi."

The UN human rights office has reminded Malawi of its responsibility to protect all citizens from hatred and violence based on their sexual orientation or gender.

Somalia: UN reaffirms support for country after deadly Al-Shabaab attack

A deadly siege on a popular beachside restaurant in Somalia's capital has been condemned "in the strongest possible terms" by the top UN official in the country.

At least 20 people were killed in the attack, including a pregnant woman and a small child.

The incident took place on Thursday evening in Mogadishu and the terrorist group Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility.

Michael Keating, UN representative for Somalia, said this latest "atrocity" must not undermine efforts to restore peace and stability to the country.

Pakistan: Construction of new metro line displacing poor citizens

Pakistan is being urged to halt the ongoing construction of a new metro line in the city of Lahore which has led to numerous forced evictions in addition to threatening protected sites and historic buildings.

The call is being made by two UN experts on the right to adequate housing and cultural rights.

They say residents have been forced to vacate their homes or businesses with little to no notice to make way for the Orange line.

Many of those affected live well below the poverty line.

As the project passes through the city's historic centre, buildings, houses of worship, historic tombs, shrines and public gardens are at risk.

They added that many of these areas are registered protected heritage sites.

The experts, known as UN Special Rapporteurs, also pointed out that project details have not been shared with the public, such as the tendering process, financing and costs, and its environmental impact.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2’39″


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