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First Person: A life dedicated to indigenous rights in Brazil

INTERNATIONAL, 18 September 2021, Human Rights - For almost 30 years, Brazilian activist Joenia Wapixana, has been fighting for indigenous land rights and against “institutionalized discrimination” in Brazil. In a special interview with UN News, to mark the 20th anniversary of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, she says it’s time to dedicate more resources to this fight.

“My name is Joenia, I am a member of the Wapixchana indigenous tribe. 

My second education, as I always say, was the indigenous movement, working with indigenous organizations. And, above all, fighting for the collective rights of communities. 

Society needs to understand that discrimination against the indigenous has always existed in Brazil. 

There is discrimination against indigenous people who are not recognized or even respected. 

You can look through the available data on discrimination. Most of it is just about the Afro-descendant population, but not about the indigenous people. There is no data on this. Most studies do not address the issue of discrimination [against indigenous peoples]. 

So, when you see someone, such as a minister saying that indigenous people cannot wear Nike because that would conflict with indigenous customs; or criticizing an indigenous woman who uses an iPhone, as if this would take away her indigenous identity; or not recognizing the rights of indigenous peoples as Brazilian citizens, this is a kind of institutionalized discrimination. 

Joenia Wapixana:

Joenia Wapixana With a law degree from the Federal University of Roraima, Ms. Wapixana has been advocating on behalf of indigenous communities in the Brazilian Amazon since the 1990s.

In 2018, at the end of a long campaign, financed at the grassroots level by crowdfunding, she became the first indigenous woman elected to Brazil’s federal parliament.

In that same year, she was awarded the UN Human Rights Prize, a high profile award whose previous winners have included Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela.

After taking the “Raposa Serra do Sol” land dispute to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Wapixana became the first indigenous lawyer to argue and win a case before the Supreme Court of Brazil.

I believe that when a person has suffered racial discrimination, or is suffering from racism, it is necessary to protect them with the fullest extent of the law. Report the incident, even if nothing comes of it. It is important for us to create a record of this phase that we are going through. 

The Conference should also hold discussions on the inclusion of indigenous peoples in the debate on public policy, because it is essential to include in the fight the specific needs of the various groups. 

Resources and not just legislation [should be made available]. Because from the moment you recognize the problem, but you don't have the structure in place to solve it with the financial resources to implement [the policy], you will end up suffering from the same discrimination, and in the same situation that you faced at the first Conference.”   

This article is one of a series of multimedia features published as part of the commemorations surrounding the twentieth anniversary of the UN’s Durban Declaration, considered to be a milestone in the global fight against racism. 

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Counting on youth, for an ‘equitable and sustainable world for all’

INTERNATIONAL, 17 September 2021, Peace and Security - At a virtual event on Friday commemorating the International Day of Peace, the UN chief saluted the “voices, vision and commitment of young people in shaping a more peaceful world”.

You are leaders, changemakers and advocates in our societies”, he told assembled youth online, “speaking out against violence, discrimination and inequalities” and calling for an end to conflicts worldwide, while also “leading the charge for urgent action on climate”.

Secretary-General António Guterres was attending the virtual 2021 Youth Observance, on the theme of Recovering Better for a Sustainable and Equitable World.

The UN’s asks

Mr. Guterres asked young people to support the UN’s call for a global 24-hour ceasefire, “and for all parties to conflict to commit to a lasting, sustainable peace”.

He also urged youth to “keep pushing governments and other leaders to close the vaccine gap between rich and poor countries”.

And finally, to keep sounding the alarm on the climate emergency engulfing our planet.

“As we seek peace among and within nations, we need to seek peace with our planet, too”, he said. “Extreme weather, melting glaciers, rising sea levels, and polluted air and water threaten our very existence”.

In closing he asked for young people to help the world “recover better and stronger”.

“Thank you for celebrating peace with us today, and every day. I count on your continued support as we work together to build a more equitable and sustainable world for all”, concluded the UN chief.

Voices of youth

After delivering his message, Mr. Guterres spoke online to youngsters from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), United States and Central African Republic (CAR).

Dyuthi Vasupal, from the UAE, noted the negative repercussions that COVID has had for education, especially for girls, and asked how school systems can bridge the many challenges still being faced, and help young people with “the means, access and opportunities”, to create an equitable society.

Mr. Guterres answered that because education is “the most important equalizer” in the world, it must be a priority for all governments and international organizations and that schools must be able to “adapt, to be able to change and be successful in a world that is in constant progress”.

Messengers of Peace

UN Messengers of Peace took the floor, including celebrated Japanese American violinist Midori, and students from the Chamber Music Institute performed a stirring rendition of Vivaldi’s “Spring” from the Four Seasons.

Award-winning Brazilian author Paulo Coelho emphasized that “respect is the most important thing that we have”. In an upbeat assessment, he acknowledged that while the world “cannot change overnight…little by little” it will get back on track.

British conservationist and ground-anthropologist, Jane Goodall, said that in a world full of conflict and suffering, young people are her “greatest hope”.

“They understand that nature is suffering, that we must find ways to protect forests and other ecosystems…to ban wildlife trafficking…reduce the unsustainable lifestyles of the wealthy and alleviate”, she said.

Ms. Goodall maintained that when millions of people make even small ethical choices in how they live every day, this cumulatively moves us towards a better world.

“We are all part of one human family…We need to get together and take action now, before it’s too late”, she added.

Crisis point for humanity

In a broader message marking the International Day of Peace, Mr. Guterres warned that humankind faces “a stark choice between peace and perpetual peril”, saying “we must choose peace”.

He painted a grim picture of COVID-19 turning the world “upside-down” and conflicts “spinning out of control” amidst a worsening climate emergency and deepening inequality and poverty.

The UN chief upheld however, that the world can tackle these issues “by working in solidarity for a lasting, sustainable peace every day”.

We need peace to level the playing field and reduce inequalities…to renew trust in one another — and faith in facts and science – and we need to make peace with nature to heal our planet, build a green economy, and achieve our net-zero targets”, he spelled out.

The Secretary-General said that “peace is not a naïve dream” but “a light in the darkness”, guiding us to “the only pathway to a better future for humanity”.

Let’s walk the pathway of peace as if our lives depended on it. Because they do”, he added.

‘Peace, harmony and prosperity’  

Speaking at the annual Peace Bell ceremony, rung each year by the Secretary-General to pray for World Peace, Mr. Guterres urged everyone to “recommit to each other…and to the best of humanity”. 

The newly installed President of the General Assembly, Abdulla Shahid, observed that the “human need for sanctuary is in our genes”. 

“Peace is, after all, one of our very reasons for being here. It is a pillar of the Charter, it is why we talk, why we deliberate, why we come together each year”, he said. 

Mr. Shahid upheld that everyone can be “instruments of peace”, to change the world into “one of cooperation and constancy” and vowed to work hard to “bring together the best of humanity…[and] showcase the best examples of peace, harmony and prosperity”. 

“Together, we are nations united in greater purpose”, he stated.   

The General Assembly established the International Day of Peace in 1981. Two decades later, in 2001, it unanimously voted to designate the Day as a period of non-violence and cease-fire. 

UN Secretary-General António Guterres rings the UN Peace Bell Ceremony on the 40th Anniversary of the International Day of Peace
UN Photo/Manuel Elías
UN Secretary-General António Guterres rings the UN Peace Bell Ceremony on the 40th Anniversary of the International Day of Peace
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Paris climate deal could go up in smoke without action: Guterres

INTERNATIONAL, 17 September 2021, Climate and Environment - Unless wealthy nations commit to tackling emissions now, the world is on a “catastrophic pathway” to 2.7-degrees of heating by the end of the century, UN Secretary General António Guterres warned on Friday.

This is far beyond the one to 1.5 degree Celsius threshold, agreed by the international community as part of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

The UN chief's remarks came after the UN’s climate agency (UNFCCC) published an update on national climate action plans (officially known as Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs) submitted by the 191 countries which signed Agreement.

The report indicates that while there is a clear trend that greenhouse gas emissions are being reduced over time, nations must urgently redouble their climate efforts if they are to prevent disastrous global heating in the future.

Not enough

The document includes updates to the NDCs of 113 countries that represent around 49% of global emissions, including the nations of the European Union and the United States.

Those countries overall expect their greenhouse gas emissions to decrease by 12% in 2030 compared to 2010. “This is an important step,” the report points out, but insufficient, as highlighted by Mr. Guterres at Friday’s Forum of Major Economies on Energy and Climate, hosted by the President of the United States, Joe Biden

“We need a 45 per cent cut in emissions by 2030, to reach carbon neutrality by mid-century…It is clear that everyone must assume their responsibilities”, he emphasized.

70 countries indicated their embrace of carbon neutrality goals by around the middle of the century. If this materializes, it could lead to even greater emissions reductions, of about 26% by 2030, compared to 2010, the report explains.

Scientists believe that climate change is causing an increase in extreme weather events.
NOAA/Jerry Penry
Scientists believe that climate change is causing an increase in extreme weather events.

Code Red

However, with national plans staying the way they are right now for all 191 countries, average global emissions in 2030 compared to 2010, instead of decreasing, will increase by around 16%.

According to the latest IPCC findings, that would mean that unless climate action is taken immediately, it may lead to a temperature rise of about 2.7C, by the end of this century.

“The recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was a code red for humanity. But it also made clear that it is not too late to meet the Paris Agreement 1.5-degree target. We have the tools to achieve this target. But we are rapidly running out of time”, the UN chief highlighted.

A thermal power plant in Port Louis, Mauritius is contributing to greenhouse gas emissions on the Indian Ocean island.
UNDP Mauritius/Stéphane Bellero
A thermal power plant in Port Louis, Mauritius is contributing to greenhouse gas emissions on the Indian Ocean island.

The challenge

The Secretary General highlighted a particular challenge: energy still obtained from coal. “If all planned coal power plants become operational, we will not only be clearly above 1.5 degrees - we will be well above 2 degrees. The Paris targets would go up in smoke”.

Mr. Guterres urged the creation of “coalitions of solidarity” between countries that still depend heavily on coal, and countries that have the financial and technical resources to support transitions to cleaner energy sources.

Without pledges and financial commitments from industrialised nations to make this happen, “there is a high risk of failure of COP26”, Mr. Guterres continued, referring to the pivotal UN Climate summit in Glasgow in six weeks’ time.

“G20 nations account for 80% of global emissions. Their leadership is needed more than ever. The decisions they take now will determine whether the promise made at Paris is kept or broken”, he warned.

Farmers and fisherfolk in the Comoros Islands are needing to adapt to climate change.
UNDP Comoros/James Stapley
Farmers and fisherfolk in the Comoros Islands are needing to adapt to climate change.

There’s still time

Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, clarified during a press conference that countries can submit or update their national plans “at any time”, including in the run-up to COP26.

The agency highlighted some good news. The new or updated plans included in the report, show a marked improvement in the quality of information presented, for both mitigation and adaptation, and tend to be aligned with broader long-term, low-emission development goals, the achievement of carbon neutrality, national legislative/regulatory/planning processes, and other international frameworks such as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The UN chief was clear that by COP26, all nations should submit more ambitions plans that help to place the world on a 1.5-degree pathway.

“We also need developed nations to finally deliver on the US100 billion commitment promised over a decade ago in support to developing countries. The Climate Finance report published today by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows that this goal has not been reached either”.

A sizeable number of national climate plans from developing countries, which define targets and actions to reduce emissions, contain conditional commitments which can only be implemented with access to enhanced financial resources and other support.

Stop ignoring science

For Mr. Guterres, the fight against climate change will only succeed if everyone comes together to promote more ambition, more cooperation and more credibility.

No more ignoring science. No more ignoring the demands of people everywhere. It is time for leaders to stand and deliver, or people in all countries will pay a tragic price”.

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UNICEF stresses Afghan girls must not be excluded from school

INTERNATIONAL, 17 September 2021, Human Rights - The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Friday welcomed the news that secondary schools are due to reopen in Afghanistan on Saturday, after months of closure due to COVID-19, but stressed that girls must not be kept from the classroom.

“We are deeply worried”, UNICEF chief Henrietta Fore said in a statement, “that many girls may not be allowed back at this time”.

No mention of girls

According to news reports, the announcement of school reopening from the Taliban, referred only to the return of boys, making no reference to a return date for girls.  

Girls cannot, and must not, be left behind. It is critical that all girls, including older girls, are able to resume their education without any further delays. For that, we need female teachers to resume teaching”, she added.

The Taliban militant group which ruled Afghanistan from the late 1990s to 2001, regained control after international troops withdrew in August and the Afghan Government collapsed, prompting concern that they will reimpose a harsh interpretation of Islamic law that prohibits girls from attending school.

‘A missed opportunity’

Even before the most recent humanitarian crisis – for which the UN held a pledging conference to extend a lifeline to the most vulnerable – 4.2 million children were not enrolled in school, around 60 per cent of them girls, according to UNICEF.  

Every day that girls miss out on education is a missed opportunity for them, their families and their communities”, the UNICEF chief said.

Despite this, there have been important improvements for the country’s children that must be respected and protected.

Over the past two decades, significant progress in education has been made, with a three-fold increase in the number of schools in the country and a surge in the number of children in attendance – from one million to 9.5 million.

Support education ‘for all’

UNICEF is urging development partners to support education “for all children” in Afghanistan.

“UNICEF will continue to advocate with all actors so that all girls and boys have an equal chance to learn and develop the skills they need to thrive and build a peaceful and productive Afghanistan”, Ms. Fore concluded.

 

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Afghanistan: Security Council resolution calls for ‘equal and meaningful participation of women’

INTERNATIONAL, 17 September 2021, UN Affairs - The Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution renewing the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on Friday, specifying the importance of “equal and meaningful participation” of women in public life. 

The resolution also emphasizes “the importance of the establishment of an inclusive and representative government”, in the wake of the Taliban takeover on 15 August.  

It further highlights the importance of “upholding human rights, including for women, children and minorities.” 

Authorizing a six month extension of the UN mission’s mandate, Council members requested the Secretary-General prepare a report by 31 January 2022, that outlines “strategic and operational recommendations for the mandate of UNAMA in light of recent political, security, and social developments”. 

Girls play volleyball at a school in Herat, Afghanistan, in 2016.
Girls play volleyball at a school in Herat, Afghanistan, in 2016., by UNAMA

It also calls on António Guterres to brief the Council on the situation in the country and the work of UNAMA every two months, until 17 March 2022.  

The resolution recognizes “the need for strengthened efforts to provide humanitarian assistance” and says it requires “all parties to allow full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access”.  

The people in Afghanistan are engulfed in multiple crises, with half the population in urgent need of aid. More than a billion dollars was pledged to assist the civilian population at a special UN humanitarian conference which took place on Monday. 

Terrorism concerns 

The 15 Council members also want to ensure that Afghanistan is not used as a base for terrorism.  

“The territory of Afghanistan should not be used to threaten or attack any country, to plan or finance terrorists acts, or to shelter and train terrorists, and that no Afghan group or individual should support terrorists operating on the territory of any country,” the resolution reads. 

The text stresses “the important role that the United Nations will continue to have promoting peace and stability” in the country, highlighting not only UNAMA, but other agencies, funds and programmes.  

Future of the country 

Separately, in a joint press statement by Security Council penholders (who lead and negotiate the drafting of resolutions) Norway and Estonia, their ambassadors noted that the situation “remains unpredictable”, in Afghanistan. 

For them, today’s vote shows “the unanimous position of the Security Council to support the Afghan people through a continued presence of the United Nations on the ground.” 

The two nations say they will “continue to support and strengthen the voices of women peacebuilders and human rights defenders in Afghanistan.” 

“Afghan women are pillars of society and must play an essential role in building sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan,” said the statement. 

The co-penholders applauded the commitments made at Monday’s conference, to scale-up humanitarian funding, but say it is also critical to ensure that humanitarian assistance, in particular women humanitarian workers, will have safe and unhindered access throughout the country. 

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Refugees face dire consequences from COVID-19 underfunding, UNHCR warns

INTERNATIONAL, 17 September 2021, Migrants and Refugees - Underfunding has left a “yawning gap” in the UN Refugee Agency’s ability to protect forcibly displaced people worldwide from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UNHCR said on Friday. 

The emergency tops their list of the 10 most underfunded situations in 2021. Only one-third of the budgeted requirements of $924 million has been received, according to UNHCR's Chief of Public Health Section, Ann Burton, who called for more global attention and funding support. 

Host States hit hardest 

Ms. Burton emphasized that “vaccine inequity continues to hit the hardest in many refugee-hosting states”.  86 per cent of refugees are hosted in developing countries, however, some 80 per cent of all vaccine doses have been given in high- and upper-middle-income countries, she noted. 

Low-income countries also have the least resilient health systems and are struggling to cope with the needs of their own populations, before adding the extra needs posed by hosting refugees. 

Ms. Burton echoed calls by UN Agencies for States to share excess doses with COVAX to address the global vaccine inequity and avoid prolonging the pandemic. While “very encouraged” by the vaccine rollout for refugees by hosting states Ms. Burton warned that many barriers to vaccine access remain. 

She reiterated that UNHCR is ready to support states overcome some of these barriers if they have the means to do so, for example “by creating information materials in refugee languages suitable for low literacy levels”. 

Economic repercussions 

Ms. Burton pointed out that the pandemic has hurt forcibly displaced and stateless people in ways that “reach far beyond the risk posed by the virus” itself. Failure “to adequately fund the response only deepens their plight,” she added. 

The economic repercussions of the pandemic have led their business and workplaces to close, with their “precarious livelihoods often the first to go”. Forcibly displaced people often do not have access to measures such as distance learning for schoolchildren or subsidies to offset the economic impact provided by governments. 

This has meant that people cannot afford to pay rent or afford daily necessities, such as food, which in turn increases the risk of exploitation and gender-based violence, she warned, before reiterating a call for States to include refugees in national social safety nets and for donors to support UNHCR help fill that gap.  

UNHCR is warning of dire consequences for refugees, including those in Lebanon (pictured), from a lack of funding for COVID-19 vaccinations.
© UNHCR/Diego Ibarra Sánchez
UNHCR is warning of dire consequences for refugees, including those in Lebanon (pictured), from a lack of funding for COVID-19 vaccinations.

$74 million funding shortfall  

UNHCR’s COVID-19 response covers every region and a whole spectrum of needs, Ms. Burton said. 

At the end of August, they met a shortfall of  $74 million in cash assistance, and smaller “but significant gaps” in funding to alleviate the pandemic’s impact on primary health care, primary education, and services for people with specific needs. 

Pointing out that forcibly displaced people constitute one per cent of the world’s population, she warned that on health grounds alone, failing to integrate them into the global pandemic response would be “reckless.” But it was “not too late” to channel funds to where they are most urgently needed, she added. 

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Lebanon crisis: More international assistance needed urgently - WHO chief

INTERNATIONAL, 17 September 2021, Humanitarian Aid - Lebanon’s enduring economic crisis risks reversing decades of gains in people’s wellbeing, the head of the UN World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.    

Speaking from the capital, Beirut, at the end of a two-day visit to the beleaguered Mediterranean country, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described finding shortages of “basic and essential medicines”. 

Although the WHO has done what it can to fill gaps in healthcare there for the last 15 years, the WHO Director-General said that the situation had become “very dire” and that international support was needed immediately.  

“It’s not just COVID, almost all services are being affected,” he said. “We visited two hospitals today… they told us that you know, they had, patients, cancer patients or other patients, but a shortage of medicines and those who cannot afford not having access to, they can’t have medicine, so meaning other services are being disrupted, and this is life, life, life and death.” 

Lebanon’s unprecedented political and economic crisis has been made worse by the COVID pandemic and last August’s port explosion. 

Fuel and power shortages

Tedros said that when he went to meet top Government officials, a power cut interrupted their encounter. 

Similar fuel shortages have left hospitals functioning at 50 per cent capacity, the WHO Director-General said, adding that he had agreed to send a team of health experts to Lebanon to offer technical support as soon as possible. 

The UN health agency has also provided “Band-Aid” assistance to the country’s medical sector, Tedros added. 

This includes the purchase of essential medicines for 450,000 patients with acute and chronic conditions last year and this year. 

But Dr Iman Shankiti, WHO Representative in Lebanon, told journalists that the caseload is now increasing and that demand is growing for medications to treat cancer, dialysis and emergency patients. 

“At one point in time we were able to support 2,000 cancer paediatric cases and we were able to support 17,000 persons with catastrophic medications, but this is not enough,” she said. “I cannot say that we have filled the gap, we have closed the shortage. The needs are huge….It needs a whole-of-Government approach (to solving the shortages)”. 

Regional insecurity risk 

While in Beirut, Tedros visited several health facilities, including the newly renovated Central Drug Warehouse that had been destroyed by the Beirut port blast.

Accompanying him, Dr Ahmed Al Mandhari, Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, highlighted the threat to regional instability if Lebanon’s health sector was not propped up.

The country was rapidly losing its longstanding status as a key provider of medical professionals, he warned, as its youngsters left the country to seek work elsewhere.

Lebanon’s strong vaccination and immunisation system was also under threat, said Dr Al Mandhari, noting that it had “protected the children of Lebanon and all those living in Lebanon, which helped us in the region and beyond to control communicable diseases like for example polio, measles and other communicable diseases that affect adults and children. So, if there is a break or a weakness in this expanded programme of immunisation in the country it will definitely hit other countries in the region.”

 

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WHO asks for commitments on maternal and newborn health

INTERNATIONAL, 17 September 2021, Health - Every day, approximately 800 women and 6,700 babies lose their lives around the time of childbirth. In addition, nearly 5,400 babies are stillborn daily, with 40% of these deaths occurring in relation to labour and childbirth. 

Highlighting those numbers, the World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on healthcare facility managers, leaders and health workers around to adopt a set of 5 World Patient Safety Day Goals 2021 to improve maternal and newborn safety. 

The goals were launched at a virtual global conference on World Patient Safety Day, marked this Friday, on the theme: safe maternal and newborn care. 

Most deaths ‘avoidable’ 

For WHO, with all the risks compounded by the disruption of services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the campaign is even more important this year. 

Most stillbirths, maternal and newborn deaths, are avoidable; as long as safe, respectful and quality care is received during pregnancy, childbirth and in the first days of life. 

The new goals seek to improve maternal and newborn safety at the point of care, and to accelerate action towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. 

Despite the progress made in reducing maternal and newborn mortality and illness since 1990, the world is far from achieving the targets laid out in the SDGs. 

The SDGs prioritize maternal mortality reduction, asking for a global average maternal mortality target, of less than 70 per 100,000 live births. A further target is that no country should have a maternal mortality rate greater than 140 per 100,000 live births.  

‘Act now’ 

Some of the main objectives are to reduce unnecessary and harmful practices to women and newborns, strengthen capacity of - and support to - health workers, promote respectful care, improve safe use of medication and blood transfusion, and report and analyze safety incidents in childbirth. 

A major reason for not achieving this target is a failure to address unsafe and poor-quality care. 

Unsafe care includes issues such as delayed and incorrect diagnosis, patient misidentification, medication errors, anesthesia and surgical errors; unsafe transfusion and injection practices; lack of infection control practices; unnecessary interventions and mistreatment.   

WHO leads and provides global direction on patient safety through the Global Patient Safety Action Plan 2021-2030, which was adopted by the World Health Assembly in May this year.  

World Patient Safety Day was established by the World Health Assembly, in 2019.

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Two more suspects arrested in Majorca death case, taking total to eight

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Police have arrested two new suspects in the investigation into the fatal attack on 27-year-old Carlo Heuvelman in Majorca this summer.

An 18-year-old and a 19-year-old, both from Hilversum, take the total number of arrests to eight. All have been held for their role in the violence that took place on the holiday island on the night of July 14.

Both teenagers are accused of taking part in group violence but neither are thought to be involved directly in Heuvelman’s death, the public prosecution office said. The victim’s father made an appeal for witnesses to come forward on crime show Opsporing Verzocht on Tuesday, telling them they are ‘not sntiches’.

‘This is not shoplifting, this is super serious,’ he said. He also told the programme that he was happy he had been spared the decision to end the life of his son, who died whilst in a coma.

‘You hope he’ll be alright. But if he isn’t and he survives, how would he have wanted it to be? It is very hard to have to face making a decision like that on behalf of your son.’

The broadcast produced 17 tips but the two latest arrests were not a result of the broadcast, the OM said. Police are continuing to urge witnesses to come forward and to send in any photographs or footage they may have of the events.

(DutchNews)

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70% of Dutch 15 to 75-year-olds have a job, unemployment rate is 3.2%

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Almost 70% of 15 to 75-year-olds in the Netherlands had some form of paid work in August, a new record, the national statistics agency CBS said on Thursday.

Over the past three months, an average of 33,000 more people have found work, taking the total to 9.1 million, the CBS said. The number of people claiming unemployment benefits has been falling for seven months and is now lower than at the end of February, before the start of the coronavirus crisis.

However, the official unemployment rate rose marginally to 3.2% because more people said they were available for work and are now included in the jobless total.

The CBS uses the 15 to 75 age category in line with the International Labour Organisation, to make comparisons across countries more accurate.

Some four million people aged 15 to 75 did not have a paid job, including 3.7 million who are not classified as being part of the working population because they are not looking for a job or are not available for work.

(DutchNews)

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