In an appeal to the Maltese authorities to do more to find the ringleaders and masterminds responsible as their top political priority, Special Rapporteurs Agnes Callamard and David Kaye suggested that too little had been done to fully investigate her killing.
“Two years have passed. No convictions, no trials of ringleaders and masterminds,” they said in a joint statement with monitors Dunja Mijatović from regional human rights body, the Council of Europe, and Harlem Désir from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
#Malta must establish accountability for murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.October 16, 2019
“On the contrary, posthumous libel suits continue to target the family of Daphne Caruana Galizia and makeshift memorials of her are frequently removed. This only adds to the sorrow and pain of her family and loved ones.”
Ms. Caruana Galizia, a well-known investigative reporter who made a name for herself uncovering graft in the Mediterranean island, was killed by a bomb planted under her car seat near her home in Bidnija, on 16 October 2017.
Three men who were charged with her murder were “finally” ordered to stand trial, the rights experts noted, almost 20 months after the killing.
According to media reports of initial court proceedings, the defendants, who were charged with planting and detonating the bomb, pleaded not guilty, and are awaiting trial.
Ahead of Wednesday’s statement by the rights experts, the Maltese authorities announced that a public inquiry into the killing had been set up.
Highlighting the need for accountability for “not only those who carried out the murder, but everyone complicit in it, including the masterminds behind it”, the experts underlined widespread public revulsion at the crime, which “shook people in Europe and beyond”.
The attack in the city of Halle, in eastern Germany, occurred on Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement: the holiest day in the year for Jewish people.
The alleged attacker, believed to be a right-wing extremist, wore military-style clothing and was wearing a video camera, livestreaming the assault online, according to media reports.
UN chief António Guterres has strongly condemned the attack, according to a statement issued by his spokesperson.
“He regards this as yet another tragic demonstration of anti-Semitism - perpetrated on the holy day of Yom Kippur - which needs to be fought with the utmost determination,” it said.
Just last month, the Secretary-General launched the United Nations Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites which aims to protect these locations from attacks and guarantee the safety of those who want to worship in peace.
The statement called on Governments to support the plan, concluding with “Houses of worship around the world must be safe havens for reflection and peace, not sites of bloodshed and terror."
In a call for asylum seekers to be moved urgently to the mainland by the central Government in Athens, UNHCR reported that sea arrivals in September rose to more than 10,000 - the highest monthly level since 2016.
The development follows a fire on Sunday in a housing container at Moria reception centre in Lesvos in which a woman died, reportedly sparking a violent protest.
Sea arrivals in September, mostly of Afghan and Syrian families, to Greek islands increased to 10,258 – the highest monthly level since 2016 – worsening conditions on the islands which now host 30,000 #asylum seekers. @Refugees spox provides an update to @UNGeneva press corps. pic.twitter.com/1esKIc2vzL— UN Geneva (@UNGeneva) October 1, 2019
“This spike has added to, has worsened what were already extremely difficult conditions on the Greek islands in the reception centres, which is why we are underscoring it is so important that urgent measures are taken now to get people who can be transferred off the islands to the mainland,” UNHCR spokesperson Liz Throssell told journalists in Geneva.
According to the UN agency, there are more than 4,400 unaccompanied children on the islands, out of at least 30,000 people seeking shelter in total.
Of that number, 500 youngsters have also been housed with unrelated adults in a large warehouse-style tent, UNHCR says, describing the situation on Lesvos, Samos and Kos as “critical”.
Highlighting the need for “urgent steps” from the Greek authorities, Ms. Throssell appealed to them to “fast-track” the transfer of more than 5,000 asylum-seekers who already have permission to continue their asylum procedure on the mainland.
On Lesvos, the official reception centre in Moria is at five times capacity, with 12,600 people, the agency said, while at a nearby informal settlement, more than 100 people share a single toilet.
The impact study on the effects of "alcohol control measures on mortality and life expectancy", shows that the amount of alcohol consumed per person fell sharply by 43 per cent, between 2003 and 2016.
Russia, says the WHO, has long been considered one of the world’s heaviest-intake countries, with consumption patterns described as “hazardous”, and associated with some of the highest levels of alcohol-related deaths.
The worst period in recent times came during the 1990s and 2000s – described by the WHO as “Russia’s mortality crisis” – when, according to research, one in every two men of working age, would die prematurely because of alcohol abuse.
Russia’s alcohol control measures, which have seen a dramatic decline in the consumption of homemade, smuggled or illegally produced alcohol, are being credited with helping average life expectancy in the country to reach a historic high in 2018, at almost 68 years for men and 78 years for women.
“These results show that measures such as the introduction of monitoring systems, price increases and limited alcohol availability, work to save lives and health system costs”, said Carina Ferreira-Borges, from the Alcohol and Illicit Drugs programme at WHO Europe.
Many of the policies implemented by the Russian authorities to curb alcohol consumption have been recommended by the WHO: these include raising taxes on alcohol, and introducing a minimum unit price on vodka and other alcoholic drinks; introduced a real-time tracking system on the production and sale of alcohol; and curbing the availability of alcohol in some regions, coupled with strict policies on alcohol-free public spaces, such as parks and recreation areas.
Despite his country’s “sincere efforts and the constructive engagement” towards a settlement, Mr. Anastasiades said: “Cyprus remains the last European divided country”.
Yet he did acknowledge a “glimmer of hope” with a new effort by the UN Secretary-General that could “pave the way forward for the resumption of talks with the sole aim to reach a comprehensive settlement”,
The “vision of the people of Cyprus” he said, is to end the status quo with a state which will ensure common and prosperous future for the coming generations of Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
The General Debate of the @UN General Assembly, when every Member State has an opportunity to address a world audience, continues until Monday.
📸 UN Photo/Laura Jarriel pic.twitter.com/6X75GjpBCG— UN News (@UN_News_Centre) September 26, 2019
“I want to send a clear message”, he asserted, “the United Nations and the Secretary-General’s good offices mission is the only way forward for us”.
In his latest report on the UN-facilitated Cyprus talks, the Secretary-General expressed the hope that ongoing consultations “will lead to a return to negotiations, to which I could devote the full weight of my good offices, with the aim of reaching a lasting resolution of the Cyprus issue.”
Turning to the world at large, President Anastasiades remarked that the combination of poverty, lack of adequate educational opportunities, social and economic exclusions and climate change “constitute the most serious problems” faced by billions globally.
For these people, who look to the international community for support, he argued, “we should not only address the root causes that have led to the creation of these challenges, but also reflect on why we have yet to tackle them.
Having failed to effectively tackle these challenges has sparked religious fundamentalism, violent extremism, civil war and ethnic conflicts, among other things.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy said ongoing conflict in places such Syria and Yemen, and his own country, reveal that war is the biggest threat to human civilization.
“Do not think that war is far away. Methods of warfare, technologies and weapons facilities have proved that our planet is no longer that big,” he stated.
“This means that every leader bears his share of responsibility: not only for the destiny of his or her country, but for the whole world. In my opinion, we all need to understand that a strong leader is not the one who, without a blink of an eye, sends thousands of troops to a sure death. A strong leader is one who cares about the life of every person.”
President Zelenskyy further called for international support for Ukraine “five years into war with Russia,” which has resulted in more than 13,000 deaths.
Holding up a bullet, he told the story of a Ukrainian soloist with the Paris Opera who was among those killed in the fighting.
“By the way, it costs only 10 US dollars,” he said. “And this is, unfortunately, the price of a human life on our planet. There are thousands of such stories. There are millions of such bullets.”
For Mr. Zelenskyy, there is no thinking globally while also turning away from issues that might seem trivial. He said this is how countries entered into two world wars.
He wondered if humanity has forgot lessons learned from history.
“From this highest world rostrum, we always hear the calls for fair changes, righteous promises, new initiatives. It is high time to ensure that those calls are backed up by deeds because in a modern world, where human life costs just 10 dollars, the words are depreciated,” he stated.
The Ukrainian President recalled that the UN was established nearly 75 years ago to maintain and strengthen international peace and security.