Belarus opposition leader demands end to violence, seeks free and fair elections

GENEVA (Reuters) - Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, in a speech at the U.N. Human Rights Council on Friday, demanded the country’s authorities end violence against protesters and set up a free and fair presidential election.

Tsikhanouskaya fled her homeland for Lithuania amid a police crackdown in Belarus following the Aug. 9 presidential election, which official results said incumbent Alexander Lukashenko won by a landslide.

U.N. investigator on Belarus warns of 'another Iron curtain'

GENEVA (Reuters) - A U.N. investigator warned of the possibility of “another Iron curtain” descending in Europe during an urgent debate on the human rights situation in Belarus in Geneva on Friday.

The all-day talks, called by Germany on behalf of the European Union (EU), was interrupted repeatedly by the delegations of Belarus, Russia, China and Venezuela raising procedural objections.

Switzerland: Three women in final five for WTO leadership race

GENEVA (Reuters) - Three women, two of them from Africa, advanced to the second round of selection to become the next director-general of the World Trade Organization as the field was cut from eight to five, the Geneva-based body said on Friday.

The WTO is looking for a new director-general to replace Brazilian Roberto Azevedo, who stepped down a year earlier than expected at the end of August.

The 25-year-old trade body has never had a leader who is female or from Africa.

Switzerland: Five candidates remain in running for WTO chief

GENEVA, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- The list of candidates running to become the next director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO) was narrowed to five after 164 members completed the first round of consultations, the WTO said on Friday.

They are Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala from Nigeria, Yoo Myung-hee from the Republic of Korea, Amina Mohamed from Kenya, Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijri from Saudi Arabia, and Liam Fox from Britain. 

WHO's Ryan: don't turn COVID-19 into 'political football'

GENEVA (Reuters) - The World Health Organization’s top emergency expert, asked on Thursday about contradictory remarks by President Donald Trump and U.S. health officials on COVID-19, said it was important for all countries to have “consistent messaging” for their public.

Trump took exception on Wednesday to comments from the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Redfield, who said a vaccine could be broadly rolled out in mid-2021 and masks might be more effective.

At UN Human Rights Council, OIC and Turkey call for ending rights abuses in Kashmir, Palestine

GENEVA, Sep 16 (APP): The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has urged the UN Human Rights Council to effectively address the “systematic” human rights violations of the people suffering from long-running disputes in Palestine, Jammu and Kashmir, Myanmar and Nagorno-Karabakh, saying its global rights agenda would remain elusive without dealing with those issues.

US tariffs on China are illegal, says world trade body

GENEVA (AP) — A World Trade Organization panel ruled Tuesday that Trump administration tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods are illegal, vindicating Beijing even if the United States has all but incapacitated the WTO’s ability to hand down a final, binding verdict.

The decision marks the first time that the Geneva-based trade body has ruled against a series of high-profile tariffs that President Donald Trump’s government has imposed on a number of countries — allies and rivals alike. Trump has repeatedly claimed that the WTO treats the U.S. unfairly.

West urges Saudi Arabia to release women activists, prosecute Khashoggi killers

GENEVA (Reuters) - Dozens of Western countries voiced concern on Tuesday at Saudi Arabia’s continued detention of women activists and called for those behind the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi to be brought to justice.

At least a dozen prominent women’s rights activists were arrested in Saudi Arabia in 2018 as it lifted a ban on women driving cars, a step that many of the detainees had long campaigned for. The women were rounded up as part of a broader crackdown on dissent.

Myanmar casualties may represent war crimes: U.N.'s Bachelet

GENEVA (Reuters) - The U.N. human rights chief said on Monday that three years after a Rohingya exodus “no concrete measures” on accountability had been taken by authorities and said some cases of recent civilian casualties in Myanmar may represent war crimes.

“In some cases, they appear to have been targeted or attacked indiscriminately, which may constitute further war crimes or even crimes against humanity,” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet told the Human Rights Council in Geneva, speaking of casualties in Rakhine and Chin States.

Covid-19: UN seeks ‘quantum leap’ in funding for virus fight

GENEVA, Sept 11 (NNN-AGENCIES) — The UN called for an immediate “quantum leap” in funding to fight the new coronavirus as the death toll crossed 900,000 six months after the pandemic broke out.

Alarming figures cropped up, with France registering a record of almost 10,000 new Covid-19 cases over the last 24 hours ahead of a key meeting to decide a toughening of coronavirus measures.

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