News in Brief 15 September 2016 (AM)

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Film introducing the Sustainable Development Goals is projected onto UN Headquarters. UN Photo/Cia Pak

Democratic principles are "golden thread" of sustainable development

Democratic principles are the "golden thread" that run through the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

That's the view of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, in his message marking the International Day of Democracy, on 15 September.

The UN chief said that all 17 of the global goals, agreed a year ago by 193 countries at UN Headquarters, depended on "effective democratic governance" enhancing "quality of life for all people".

He said the implementation of the goals, which include ending poverty and creating "inclusive societies and accountable institutions", must be "underpinned by a strong and active civil society."

He added that the objective of leaving no one behind in goals relating to issues such as healthcare, education and inequality would only be achievable through democratic governance.

Human rights worsening in eastern Ukraine says UN report

There has been a sharp rise in the number of conflict-related civilian casualties across eastern Ukraine during the summer months, according to a new UN report.

The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine documented 188 casualties in the east between mid-May and mid-August, including 28 deaths, marking a 66 per cent increase on the previous three months.

Fighting between government forces and separatist rebels has been going on since April 2014, resulting in 9,640 deaths so far.

The UN Human Rights chief, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, said that while the "situation has improved since the ceasefire was restored on 1 September" new outbreaks of violence "could happen at any time".

The report describes how government and opposition forces are facing off across a thin so-called "contact line" with fighters and arms close to residential areas.

"Debt bondage" remains major form of "modern slavery"

Debt bondage, "remains one of the most prevalent forms of modern slavery" across the world, according to the senior UN representative on the issue.

Urmila Bhoola, UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, said that debt bondage, or bonded labour, had been banned under international law in most countries, but continued to affect an estimated 21 million people.

She said that it was a "form of enslavement with deep historical roots" and "still not universally understood."

She said that poverty and desperation coupled with illiteracy and discrimination, forced millions to take a loan from unscrupulous employers, just to meet basic needs.

People unable to repay debt then end up working well in excess of what they owe, and are "often subjected to different forms of abuse".

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’17″


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