News in Brief 7 September 2017 – Geneva (AM)

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The Human Rights Council at the UN in Geneva. At its next session, Member States will discuss 80 thematic and country reports. Photo: UN Photo/JessHoffman

Venezuela and Qatar to address Human Rights Council's upcoming session

Senior representatives from Venezuela and Qatar are to address the Human Rights Council in Geneva, where it begins a new session on Monday.

The planned speech by Venezuela's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jorge Arreaza Monteserrat, on the opening day of the three-week session, comes after four months of violent anti-government demonstrations in the South American state, in which at least 125 people died.

In recent weeks and months, UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein has spoken out against violations committed against the protesters, saying democracy was "barely alive" in Venezuela.

The Qatari delegation will be led by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani, Minister for Foreign Affairs.

The Gulf State stands accused of supporting terrorism by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Bahrain, which cut diplomatic ties with Qatar in June.

Qatar – which denies the accusation – has since faced a land, air and sea blockade from its Arab neighbours.

Mexico will welcome "Dreamers" home with arms wide open, says ambassador

Mexico has told a UN panel that it will welcome home hundreds of thousands of undocumented people living in the United States "with arms wide open".

Miguel Ruiz Cabañas, Under-Secretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, was speaking to the UN Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers in Geneva:

"It is a personal decision. Each person will have to decide whether they are to remain in the United States or to go back to Mexico; however, we want them to know that they have the option and we want them to know that we have created programmes and policies to ensure that we will welcome with arms wide open."

The ambassador's comments follow the U.S. decision to abolish protection for young migrants – the so-called DACA programme.

He said that the best way to counter discrimination against migrants was to recognise their positive contribution to host communities.

In monetary terms, they produced nine per cent of the global turnover – some US $6.5 trillion, he added.

On the issue of a proposed wall between Mexico and the U.S., the Ambassador said that his country would not pay "a single cent" towards it.

World's cereal harvest set to hit all-time record – FAO

Cereal harvests around the world are set to hit an all-time high, the UN said on Thursday.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), global cereal production is forecast to exceed 2,600 million tonnes.

Worldwide stocks of cereals are also expected to reach record levels by the close of the season in 2018, latest data shows.

FAO's revised forecasts reflect improved growing conditions in Russia, as well as higher corn and barley harvests there and in Brazil.

Rice is also set to hit unprecedented levels in 2017, FAO says, while key food commodity prices remain six per cent higher than a year ago.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 3’10″

 

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