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Hello, this is Pip, and today we’re looking back over the latest session of the Human Rights Council and asking whether women’s rights are being sidelined in pursuit of consensus.

We’re also getting the latest on the crackdown on dissent in Belarus, and hearing one expert’s view on the persecution of minorities in China.

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Pip Cook


Peace and Humanitarian News

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Community leaders in Kenya wear menstrual bracelets to show commitment to promoting menstrual health and hygiene. The Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on menstrual hygiene during its 47th session, although some NGOs said it should have gone further. (WSSCC / Jason Florio / News Aktuell via AP Images)

🇺🇳Are women’s rights being sidelined at the Human Rights Council? Women’s rights traditionally take centre stage during the Geneva body’s June meeting, which wrapped up last week after a hectic session. But as the pandemic continues to disproportionately impact women’s lives and livelihoods across the world, many NGOs were left disappointed by the meeting, and how little progress members of the UN’s top human rights body made to protect and promote women’s rights.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

🚫In China: ‘for everyone’s safety’. For Uyghur, Kazakh and other people in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of northwest China, Orwell's fiction of ultra-security and surveillance has become a reality, writes academic Hanna Burdorf, a PHD student and contributor to the Shahit database, which, since 2018, has been gathering testimonies from persecution victims in Xinjiang.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

Here’s what else is happening

Image of the day

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Human rights defender Ales Bialiatski laying flowers at a memorial to a protester killed during a demonstration in August 2020. (Credit: HRC Viasna)

Crackdown on human rights defenders and journalists in Belarus. Tensions escalated in Belarus last week following a spate of raids and arrests of journalists and human rights defenders across the country. Among the independent media personnel and NGO workers that were detained during the latest clampdown by President Alexander Lukashenko was Ales Bialiatski, a former political prisoner and head of the Viasna human rights organisation, which received the prestigious Right Livelihood Award in 2020. The Geneva-based Right Livelihood Foundation say they are extremely concerned for his and his colleagues' wellbeing. We spoke to Bialiatski about the crackdown in his home country when he visited Geneva in March.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

Number of the day

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Image: destroyed buildings in Gaza city. (EPA / Mohammed Saber)

Two months after the signing of a ceasefire agreement between Palestinian and Israeli authorities, reconstruction efforts led by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) are underway. New funding from the US, who had already given $33 million in humanitarian assistance following the eruption of violence in May, will allow UNRWA to continue supporting the growing number of displaced Palestinians in the region with food, education and health services.

UN News (EN)

Next on the agenda

📌 27 July | Women managing weapons. This online event hosted by the UN Institute for Disarmament Research will explore some of the challenges experienced by women working on weapons and ammunition management in countries whose authorities lack the means for effective control, and offer leads towards greater gender inclusion.


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