News in Brief (AM)

Women should take lead in peace process for Israel and oPt

Israel and the Palestinians are being urged to start a new peace process with the full participation of women.

The call was made by a UN human rights expert following an official visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) to examine the overall situation of violence against women and girls.

Dubravka Simonovi? said that reducing violence against women and promoting gender equality could help in bridging fragmented and divided communities and achieving peace.

Meanwhile, a general debate on the situation of human rights in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories was held during the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Israel did not attend the session.

During the debate, issues surrounding the long-running nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were addressed as well as the urgency for the international community to address the situation.

Deterioration of the situation in Aleppo cause for concern

The President of the UN General Assembly has called for an immediate cessation of hostilities in the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Peter Thomson issued a statement expressing concern over the “rapid and dramatic” deterioration of the situation there.

Intensified government airstrikes in the area have contributed to what has been described by a senior UN official as “one of the worst weeks in 6 years of conflict.”

An emergency meeting of the Security Council was held on Sunday to ask the international community to push for a break in the violence in Syria.

Mr Thomson also appealed for “unhindered” humanitarian assistance to reach those in need and for political negotiations to resume quickly.

South Africa joins global initiative on human trafficking and migrant smuggling

South Africa has joined a global UN initiative to prevent and address human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has partnered with other UN agencies and the European Union to develop and implement effective responses to these crimes.

According to UN estimates, there are at least 700,000 trafficked victims globally each year.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, appealed to regional partners not to turn a blind eye as “offenders undermine and evade law enforcement, criminal justice, and social welfare systems.”

He also deplored that “powerful interests” do not take these crimes seriously enough, as their own children and women are not as vulnerable as those of the poor and working classes.

Charles Appel, United Nations.

Duration: 2’31?

Source: United Nations Radio.