COVID-19, demonstrations in Colombia, El Salvador … Monday’s news

What is happening in India and Brazil with COVID-19 can happen anywhere, warns the WHO

The new cases of COVID-19 in the last two weeks have exceeded those in the first six months of the pandemic, warns the World Health Organization that insists on the importance of maintaining hygiene and distancing measures in the absence of vaccines.

India and Brazil had more than half of the cases last week, said the WHO director-general.

“What is happening in India and Brazil can happen anywhere if we do not take the public health precautions that we have asked for since the beginning of the pandemic. Vaccines are part of the answer, but not the only answer,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in reference to measures such as wearing a mask, avoiding large groups, washing hands or ventilating the house.

Asked about the situation in her country, the Organization’s chief scientist, Indian Soumya Swaminathan, said that the decreases in cases and deaths from COVID-19 thanks to vaccinations will only reach countries when they have vaccinated around 50% of its population. India will need to vaccinate about 1 billion people.

The country has stopped exports of AstraZeneca vaccines from the Serum Institute and they are not expected to distribute the same number of doses again. The WHO is looking for alternatives to obtain the 2 billion vaccines that the COVAX initiative needs to vaccinate 20% of the population in the poorest countries. Manufacturers Moderna will deliver 500 million doses, but only from the second half of the year. For this reason, the WHO insisted on the importance that countries that have already vaccinated a good part of their citizens donate vaccines.

The work of journalists will be decisive for the world to recover from the COVID-19 crisis, says the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

In your message by International Press Freedom Day, Michelle Bachelet, says that “objective, reliable and verified news” will help curb misinformation, guarantee the application of sustainable solutions, demand transparency and accountability and foster trust in institutions.

The COVID-19 crisis, he adds, has made it clear that “too often” journalistic criticism directed at government policies or public figures provokes criminal reprisals.

From UNESCO they recall that sixty-two journalists were murdered in 2020 for doing their work, and many more lost their lives due to COVID-19.

The General secretary urges “all governments to do everything in their power to support a free, independent and diverse media.” “Free and independent journalism,” says António Guterrres, “is our greatest ally in the fight against misinformation and misinformation.”

UN Rights calls for an investigation into “the murders” during the protests in Colombia

UN News / Laura Quiñones

Cali, Colombia, the capital of the department of Cauca

In Colombia, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has called for “investigation, trial and punishment” of all “murders” committed in the framework of the demonstrations in the country.

The representative of the Country Office, Juliette de Rivero, he said on his Twitter account that they are “monitoring with concern”, since April 28, the human rights situation in Cali, Cauca, Medellín, Bello, Pasto, Neiva, Barranquilla, Villavicencio and Bogotá. “We are in contact with the Public Ministry. We emphasize that most of the demonstrations have been peaceful, ”he adds.

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Faced with cases of violence, they recall “that according to international standards States are obliged to respect and protect human rights ”. “The regulatory framework that governs the use of force includes principles of legality, precaution, necessity, proportionality and accountability,” he details.

In addition, it recalls that “the possibility of meeting and acting collectively is essential for democratic, economic, social and personal development, the expression of ideas and the promotion of a committed citizenry.

The special rapporteur on freedom of association and peaceful assembly ensures to be “Alarmed by reports of excessive use of force by security forces against protesters” and number nine dead since April 28. “These forces must refrain from the excessive use of force and those responsible must be held accountable,” says Clement Voule on his Twitter account, adding that he is also “alarmed by the number of police officers injured” and asks “those responsible to refrain from any type of violence ”.

The Secretary General urges respect for the rule of law in El Salvador


© UNHCR/Diana Diaz

An internally displaced youth on a street outside San Salvador, El Salvador.

Antonio Guterres “takes note” of the concerns expressed about the procedures used in the removal of the members of the constitutional chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice and their impact on the control mechanisms in El Salvador.

The Secretary General “calls on respect the constitutional provisions, the rule of law and the division of powers, with a view to preserving the democratic progress achieved by the Salvadoran people since the signing of the peace agreement, ”said its spokesperson.

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The regional representative of UN Human Rights has asked to the Legislative Assembly “to guarantee judicial independence” and “the period for which the Magistrates have been elected.”

The special rapporteur on judicial independence also posted a message on Twitter. “I condemn the steps that the political power has been taking to dismantle and weaken the judicial independence of the magistrates by dismissing members of the Constitutional Chamber,” writes Diego García Sayán. “All dismissal process must attend to specific causes and previously established in the law. This UN Rapporteurship will remain vigilant and will act against any action aimed at affecting the work of constitutional judges in El Salvador ”.

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