News in Brief 26 May 2017 – (AM)

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Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

UN rights office condemns Gaza executions by "field military court"

The UN human rights office has condemned the execution of three men by Gaza authorities, accused of being involved in the 24 March murder of Hamas leader Mazen Al Faqhaa.

According to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the men were convicted by a special "field military court" for their involvement in the murder and on charges of collaborating with an "enemy party."

International law sets strict conditions for the death penalty, which this trial did not meet, the agency said.

"Field military court" allows no possibility of appeal or clemency, and two of the men were civilians, ineligible for a military court trial.

Additionally, the Palestinian Basic Law, which requires President Mahmoud Abbas to approve the executions, was ignored.

"The executions amount to an arbitrary deprivation of life," Zeid underscored.

He was also appalled by the public and celebratory nature of the executions and reiterated UNHCR's call on Palestinian officials to immediately establish an official moratorium on the use of the death penalty with a view to its abolition.

FAO warns "lethal" virus affecting popular tilapia fish

A highly contagious disease is spreading among farmed and wild tilapia, a popular fish around the world, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned.

The agency advised people to treat the outbreak with "concern" and asked countries importing tilapia to take appropriate measures to minimize the risks.

The FAO alert issued on Friday recommends intensifying diagnostic testing, enforcing health certificates and deploying quarantine measures.

The Tilapia Lake Virus has now been confirmed in Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Israel and Thailand.

While the virus poses no public health concern, it can decimate tilapia populations.

Indonesia urged to combat stigma towards LGBT people: UN

Indonesia is being urged by the UN to combat stigma and negative public attitudes towards Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) expressed concern on Friday over "the recent persecution, arbitrary arrest, detention and ill-treatment of men perceived to be gay in Indonesia."

In the past two months, more than 150 men reportedly have been arrested in Aceh, Surabaya and Jakarta for having same-sex relations.

Some have been released, while others have been charged under a pornography law.  OHCHR Spokesperson, Rupert Colville, has more.

"The arrested men had been subjected to public humiliation and stigmatization.  In some cases, their names, photos and videos had been released to the media.  The men arrested in Surabaya had also been subjected to forced HIV tests.  In the case of Aceh, two men had been publicly caned after being tried by a Sharia court."

Some high officials have spoken out in defence of the rights of LGBT people.

But lately there has been widespread hate speech in the media and by some religious groups and public officials.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 3’25″

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