News in Brief 20 May 2016 (AM) – Geneva

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UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said the Tlatlaya case in Mexico would be closely watched as a test of the authorities' commitment to fighting impunity. Photo: UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

Concern at impunity in Mexico for alleged summary executions

Almost two years after the alleged summary execution of at least 12 people in Mexico, the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) has voiced concerns that the investigation is going nowhere.

At least 22 people were reportedly killed at a warehouse in Tlatlaya in June 2014, and the UN agency says that the case is "mired in impunity".

Seven military personnel were arrested in connection with the events.

But a judge dropped charges against four of them and the remaining three were freed last week.

Here's UN Human Rights Office spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani:

"We call on the Mexican authorities to ensure a thorough, effective, impartial, independent and prompt investigation into this emblematic case… Investigations must be extended to examine all those who may be responsible, including higher-level military officers who may hold command responsibility, as well as those who may have tampered with or ordered the commission of acts to tamper with the crime scene."

On a visit to Mexico in October last year, High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said that the Tlatlaya case would be a test of the authorities' commitment to fighting impunity.

The High Commissioner's office said that it had taken note of the Mexican Attorney-General's statement that it would seek to prevent impunity for those responsible.

Iran criticised for 16-year sentence for anti-death sentence campaigner

Staying with the UN Human Rights Office, it says it's appalled by the recent sentencing of a prominent Iranian anti-death penalty campaigner.

Nargis Mohammadi, who is already in prison in Tehran for breaching the country's national security laws, has been sentenced to 16 years for her human rights work.

The UN agency, OHCHR, has appealed for her release, saying she has reportedly not been granted adequate access to the medical care she needs.

Hundreds of millions in Africa targeted in new drive against tropical diseases

And finally to Africa, where a plan to eliminate tropical diseases could help hundreds of millions of people.

Announced by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva on Friday, the aim is to target the continent's five main neglected tropical diseases.

WHO's Regional Office for Africa says that this group of diseases, which includes Buruli ulcer and Guinea worm, places a "constant and heavy burden" on the poorest, most marginalised and isolated communities in the world.

Vaccines exist to fight many neglected tropical diseases and pharmaceutical companies donated 1.5 billion treatments in 2015 alone, largely to African countries.

The aim now is to help countries scale up their national tropical disease programmes to reach every community in need, by providing additional technical expertise and financial support.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 2’35″

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