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World News Summary: UN experts welcome Assange’s release, issue more ICC orders on Ukraine, Human Rights Council update

Mr. Assange was hunted by US lawmakers after leaking a series of confidential documents through the WikiLeaks platform.

Alice Jill EdwardsThe Special Rapporteur on torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, said United Nations News that “persons should not and should never be extradited to a place where they may face torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishments”, including disproportionate punishments with any alleged crimes that may have been committed.

“The crimes Mr. Assange exposed need to be taken seriously, investigated and properly prosecuted in the United States,” she said. “Impunity for war crimes and other violations of the laws of war only encourages bold actors to take matters into their own hands.”

Assange is still fighting extradition from a UK prison to the US following the publication of secret military documents and diplomatic communications in 2010.

His reported deal involved pleading guilty to one count of violating the United States Espionage Act without additional prison time.

Ukraine: ICC issues additional arrest warrants for top Russian officials

The International Criminal Court (ICC) an arrest warrant was issued Tuesday against two senior Russian officials for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during Russia’s ongoing full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Two men – Sergei Shoigu and Valery Gerasimov – held top positions in the Russian Government and military at the time of the reported crimes, which included rocket attacks on “many” homes. electric machines in many locations.

Civil damages

In a statement, the court said it was reasonable to consider that harm to civilians and damage from attacks between October 2022 and March 2023 “is clearly excessive compared to the benefits expected military”.

The court also noted that both individuals faced charges that they “caused undue harm to civilians” and were responsible for “inhumane acts” by ordering the crimes committed. evil or through “failure to exercise proper control of the forces under their command”.

UN human rights experts: Stop criminalizing homelessness and poverty

Independent United Nations human rights experts on Tuesday called on governments to scrap “cruel and counterproductive” laws that criminalize homelessness and poverty.

ONE new research published by two United Nations Special Rapporteurs – on adequate housing, Balakrishnan Rajagopaland on extreme poverty and human rights, Olivier De Schutter – notes growing evidence that people living in homelessness and poverty are increasingly being punished simply for doing what is necessary to maintain their basic survival.

This includes fines and sanctions for activities such as sleeping, washing, cooking, eating, begging and working on the streets.

“Instead of addressing the global inequality and affordable housing crises that are the main causes of homelessness, governments are increasingly turning to vague and outdated laws, many of which have their origins in colonial rule, to take people off the streets and make them disappear,” said Mr Rajagopal.

Symptoms of failure

He added that homelessness is a symptom of political and social failure, rooted in policy and institutional factors.

“These laws will not solve homelessness or poverty. They are in direct violation of international human rights and must be repealed urgently,” he said.

Research shows that criminalization only pushes desperate people further into poverty and homelessness.

“These laws amount to double punishment,” Mr. De Schutter argued. “People are punished first when they are pushed into homelessness and again when they are punished. The [laws] is cruel, counterproductive and a disproportionate response to even any legitimate public health or safety concerns raised by homelessness.”

End the punitive approach

Experts call on governments to repeal general bans on begging and reallocate resources beyond police operations to tackle the root causes of poverty and homelessness. They say prison sentences for those who cannot afford to pay fines should also be abolished and non-custodial measures for minor offenses should be promoted for homeless people.

“Homelessness and poverty are on the rise due to political choices that are making a decent income and adequate housing a distant dream for millions,” Mr. Rajagopal said. “This must be resolved. Relying on law enforcement will not solve the problem.”

Protecting the Judiciary in the Age of Rising Authoritarianism

In a separate report to the Human Rights Council on Tuesday, the UN independent expert on the independence of judges and lawyers warned that the role of the independent judiciary is increasingly under attack.

Margaret Satterthwaite said some political actors are taking advantage of a climate of rising populism and authoritarianism to restrict or control justice systems, including by criminalizing prosecutors , judges and lawyers.

In her second report Before the Council, the Special Rapporteur highlighted how governments are attempting to undermine justice by restricting bar associations, wresting control from the courts or attacking those working in the system in every level.

Fundamental values ​​are at stake

“Justice systems promote and protect a fundamental value that underpins participatory governance: the rule of law,” she said. “This principle affirms that everyone, including State actors, is subject to the same laws, applied fairly and consistently.

“I call on Member States to do more to restore public confidence in judicial institutions and protect justice workers and their indispensable role in safeguarding democracy,” she added.

Special Rapporteurs and other UN agencies Eastern Human Rights Association– Appointed rights experts are independent of any government, receive no salary for their work, and serve in their personal capacity.


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