News in Brief 20 December 2017

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UN Secretary-General António Guterres delivers remarks at the Security Council meeting on addressing the complex contemporary challenges to international peace and security. Photo: UN/Mark Garten

More coherent and coordinated efforts needed to combat evolving threats to international peace and security, says UN chief

The world is witnessing an increase in the type of threats to international peace and security, the UN chief said today.

Speaking at the Security Council on Wednesday, Secretary-General António Guterres said that tensions over nuclear weapons are higher than they have been since the end of the cold war.

He also outlined threats due to climate change, protracted conflicts, transnational crime, inequality, as well as those from the virtual world.

"Cybersecurity dangers are escalating, as some of the same advances in technology that have generated so many gains have also made it easier for extremists to communicate, broadcast distorted narratives of grievance, recruit followers and exploit people."

To address these and other challenges, Mr. Guterres called for more coherent, coordinated and context-specific efforts.

In particular, he urged the scaling up of conflict prevention efforts and ensuring greater respect for all human rights – both civil and political, as well as economic, social and cultural.

He also underlined that participation of women in peacemaking efforts is crucial to sustaining peace.

"Where women are empowered, societies flourish and peace processes have a better chance of taking hold. We must also do more to address the systematic violence faced by women before, during and after conflict, and to pursue justice for perpetrators as an essential part of post-conflict healing and recovery."

Men urged to stand together in solidarity to end sexual harassment

Men across the world are being urged to stand together in solidarity with each other, and with women, to end sexual harassment.

The call comes from the United Nation's gender organization, UN Women, to mark International Human Solidarity Day.

UN Women's HeForShe movement is encouraging men to record a short video stating a personal commitment to end sexual harassment.

It is hoped those videos will be posted on social media, as what UN Women describes as "a public symbol of solidarity to the many brave individuals who have experienced sexual harassment".

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said "men must take personal ownership in calling out sexual harassment and the culture that enables it," adding that "responding with silent anger is not enough".

In recent weeks, a number of high-profile media and business leaders, as well as politicians in the United States and further afield have faced allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Government of Myanmar withdraws cooperation with UN rights expert

The Government of Myanmar has denied all access to the country and withdrawn its cooperation with the UN human rights expert on Myanmar for the duration of her term, the UN rights office, OHCHR, has said.

According to Yanghee Lee, the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights situation in Myanmar, the move is based on a statement she made at the end of her last visit to the country in July.

She added that "the declaration of non-cooperation with [her] mandate can only be viewed as a strong indication that there must be something terribly awful happening in Rakhine, as well as in the rest of the country".

The withdrawal comes ahead of Ms. Lee's scheduled visit to Myanmar in January to assess the state of human rights countrywide, including the human rights abuses against the minority Muslim Rohingya community in Rakhine state.

Yanghee Lee was appointed as the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar in 2014 and as part of her mandate, was required to undertake two visits to the country a year.

Vibhu Mishra, United Nations.

Duration: 3'21"

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