News in Brief 27 September 2017 (AM)

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High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

UN rights chief "appalled" by mass execution in Iraq

UN Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said he is "appalled" at the mass execution of prisoners in Iraq over the weekend.

Forty-two inmates at the Al Hoot prison, located in the south of the country, were hanged on Sunday.

The men were Iraqis affiliated with the terrorist groups ISIL or al-Qaeda, according to the authorities.

They had been charged with kidnapping, killing members of the security forces, carrying out armed robberies and detonating improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

The UN human rights office said no information has been released regarding their names, the exact crimes they were charged with, the dates they were sentenced, or other details.

Ravina Shamdasani is a spokesperson with the UN human rights office:

"The High Commissioner is absolutely appalled and shocked that 42 people were hanged in just one day in Iraq,  particularly because the Iraqi justice system  is one of the most flawed in the world and there is a very high risk that this would amount to a gross miscarriage of justice."

The incident has raised "massive concerns" over Iraq's use of the death penalty, Zeid said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

The UN human rights chief pointed out that under international law, capital punishment may be imposed after "a strict set of substantive and procedural requirements" have been met, such as guarantees to due process and a fair trial.

He stated that it was "extremely doubtful" these criteria were met.

Vigilance the watchword on World Tourism Day: UN anti-crime chief

The more than one billion people worldwide who travel each year can play a role in combatting illicit drugs, transnational crime, corruption and terrorism.

That's the message from the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, (UNODC), Yury Fedetov, for World Tourism Day, observed this Wednesday, 27 September.

He urged travellers to "remain watchful" as criminals are using transportation systems as "a delivery mechanism for misery and torment."

For example, Mr Fedetov said luggage can be hiding endangered wildlife species, priceless cultural heritage and illicit drugs, while people providing services at holiday destinations may have been coerced or threatened.

"By being observant and attentive, tourists can help catch the traffickers, save victims and prevent untold harm to wildlife, forests and culture," he said, adding that these crimes also have an impact on sustainable development.

ILO conference tackles youth unemployment in North Africa

More global action is needed to tackle the youth employment crisis in North African countries.

That warning comes from the International Labour Organization (ILO) which has concluded a two-day conference in Geneva on the subject.

Youth joblessness in North Africa stands at 28.8 per cent, or twice the global average, according to the UN agency.

Furthermore, the region has one of the largest gender imbalances in labour market participation.

The ILO is calling for governments, workers' organizations and other partners to renew their commitment to address the problem.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2'55"

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