News in Brief 31 May 2023 |


    This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

    Uganda: Guterres deeply concerned over anti-gay law

    UN chief António Guterres is “deeply concerned” after Uganda’s president signed into law a punitive so-called “Anti-Homosexuality Act”, the UN spokesperson said on Tuesday.

    The draconian law foresees the application of the death penalty and long prison sentences for consensual sex between adults. 

    Mr. Guterres called on Uganda to fully respect its international human rights obligations, “in particular the principle of non-discrimination and the respect for personal privacy”, irrespective of sexual orientation and gender identity. 

    He also called on all Member States to end the criminalization of consensual same-sex relations.

    According to the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS, such criminalization continues in 67 countries around the world, with 10 still imposing the death penalty.

    Just last week, the UN rights chief Volker Türk said that anti-LGBTQI laws like Uganda’s “drive people against one another, leave people behind and undermine development”. 

    Economic woes dash job hopes in low-income countries: ILO

    Soaring debt levels compounded by high inflation and rising interest rates have dashed job-seekers’ hopes in developing countries, the International Labour Organization (ILO) warned on Wednesday.

    The agency’s new research shows that while in high-income countries, only 8.2 per cent of people willing to work are jobless, that number rises to over 21 per cent in low-income countries, or one in every five people.

    Low-income countries in debt distress are worst affected, with more than one in four who want to work, unable to secure employment. Those countries also lack the means to invest in essential social safety nets.

    Here’s ILO’s Assistant Director-General for Jobs and Social Protection, Mia Seppo:

    “We need to create fiscal space for social investment in low-income countries. This should be considered with urgency as part of the ongoing global discussion on the reform of the international financial architecture.”

    The agency said that boosting social protection and expanding old-age pensions would increase gross domestic product per capita in low and middle-income countries by close to 15 per cent over a decade, proving that “social investment makes economic sense”.

    Bangladesh: Keeping workers poor hinders development, says expert

    Staying with the world of work: Bangladesh must move away from an economy that’s overly reliant on low wages as it approaches its expected transition from Least Developed Country (LDC) status.

    That’s the message from UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Olivier De Schutter.

    Following his visit to Bangladesh, Mr. De Schutter, who is an independent, UN-appointed rights expert, said that a country’s comparative advantage “cannot lie in keeping its people poor”.

    He urged the Government to use its upcoming graduation from LDC status in 2026 as an opportunity to “rethink” its dependency on the ready-made garment industry, characterized by cheap labour, which employs four million workers and accounts for 82 per cent of the country’s export revenue.

    According to Mr. de Schutter, steps towards a rights-based sustainable development included fair wages, educating and training workers, and improving social protection. Such reforms would strengthen Bangladesh’s economy and allow it to develop domestic demand instead of relying mainly on “exploitative” export opportunities.

    LDCs are low-income countries facing severe structural obstacles to sustainable development, which have exclusive access to certain international support measures. There are currently 46 countries on the list of LDCs, which is reviewed every three years by the UN’s Committee for Development Policy.

    Dominika Tomaszewska-Mortimer, UN News.

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