“No words can describe the shock we are living through or how the face of the country lies transformed,” Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif told the General Assembly’s annual high-level debate.

“For 40 days and 40 nights a biblical flood poured down on us, smashing centuries of weather records, challenging everything we knew about disaster, and how to manage it.”

No starker evidence of global warming

Close to eight million people have been displaced by the disaster, according to the UN, which along with the authorities and partners have continued to reach affected populations with desperately needed relief items. To date, more than 1,500 people have been killed, including 552 children.

The Prime Minister noted that some 33 million people are now at risk of health hazards; more than 13,000 kilometres of roads have been damaged; one million homes have been destroyed and another million damaged; and four million acres of crops have been washed away.

“Pakistan has never seen a starker and more devastating example of the impact of global warming,” he stressed. “Life in Pakistan has changed forever.”

On his visit to the country earlier this month, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said he had never seen “climate carnage on this scale,” and called for urgent financial support to help Pakistan, saying it is not just a question of solidarity but a question of justice.

The Prime Minister noted: “Nature has unleashed her fury on Pakistan without looking at our carbon footprint, which is next to nothing. Our actions did not contribute to this.”

He added that the current priority is to ensure rapid economic growth and lift millions out of destitution, which requires a stable external environment.

Sustainable peace in South Asia

“Sustainable peace and stability in South Asia, however, remains contingent upon a just and lasting solution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

The Committee issued its ground-breaking decision after examining a joint complaint filed by eight Australian nationals and six of their children – all indigenous inhabitants of Boigu, Poruma, Warraber and Masig, four small, low-lying islands in the country’s Torres Strait region.

The Islanders claimed their rights had been violated as Australia failed to adapt to climate change through upgrading seawalls on the islands and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, among other necessary measures.

“This decision marks a significant development as the Committee has created a pathway for individuals to assert claims where national systems have failed to take appropriate measures to protect those most vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change on the enjoyment of their human rights,” Committee member Hélène Tigroudja said

Masig Island in the Torres Straits
© 350 Australia
Masig Island in the Torres Straits

Cultural damage

In their complaint, the Islanders claimed that changes in weather patterns had direct, harmful consequences on their livelihood, culture, and traditional way of life.

They indicated to the Committee that severe flooding caused by the tidal surge in recent years has destroyed family graves and left human remains scattered across their islands, arguing that maintaining ancestral graveyards and visiting and communicating with deceased relatives are at the heart of their cultures.

Moreover, the most important ceremonies, such as those for coming-of-age and initiation, are only culturally meaningful if performed in the community's native lands.

Land degradation

The Islanders argued that changes in climate have triggered heavy rainfall and storms, degrading land and trees.

This, in turn, has reduced the amount of food available from traditional fishing and farming.

For example, on Masig Island, the rising sea level has caused saltwater to seep into the soil and coconut trees to become diseased, subsequently killing off the fruit – an important part of the Islanders’ traditional diet.

The decision of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia (ECCC) to uphold the conviction of the regime’s last surviving leader, Khieu Samphan, ends more than 13 years of hearings by the unique hybrid court, which was made up of both Cambodian and international judges and attorneys.

The court reportedly cost as total of $330 million, since being established in 1997.

Appeal denied

A former head of State, Mr. Samphan had appealed his conviction in what is expected to be the court’s final judgement. The court upheld his sentence of life imprisonment.

When he was first convicted, the judgement emphasized that he had “encouraged, incited and legitimised” policies of the regime that led to civilian deaths “on a massive scale”.

Three of the Khmer Rouge leaders were convicted, beginning with “Comrade Duch” who ran a notorious torture centre in the capital Phnom Penh, where all but 12 of its 20,000 inmates perished.

 Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, the site of the Khmer Rouge’s infamous Security Prison S-21 where torture was routinely practiced.
UN Photo/Mark Garten
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, the site of the Khmer Rouge’s infamous Security Prison S-21 where torture was routinely practiced.

Convictions

Noun Chea, known as “Brother Number Two” in the Communist Party hierarchy of the regime, was arrested in 2007, given a life sentence by the ECCC seven years later, and died in prison in 2019. The overall leader of the regime Pol Pot, died in 1998.

According to news reports, 91-year-old Khieu Samphan, insisted during the tribunal proceedings that he was unaware of any “heinous acts” committed by other leaders of the Khmer Rouge.

“We are shocked and deeply saddened by the death of Ms Amini,” they said in a statement.

“She is another victim of Iran’s sustained repression and systematic discrimination against women and the imposition of discriminatory dress codes that deprive women of bodily autonomy and the freedoms of opinion, expression and belief”, the experts added.

Stop lethal force

The experts also denounced violence by Iranian security forces directed against peaceful protesters and human rights defenders in cities across the country, who have been marching and demanding accountability for Ms. Amini’s death.

They urged the Iranian authorities to avoid further unnecessary violence and to immediately stop the use of lethal force in policing peaceful assemblies.

🇮🇷#Iran: UN experts strongly condemn death of 22-year-old #Mahsa_Amini, who died in police custody after her arrest for wearing an “improper hijab.”

They call for accountability & end to violence against women & peaceful protesters.

👉https://t.co/ma1eAdJwFLpic.twitter.com/cCL48xbhPD

— UN Special Procedures (@UN_SPExperts) September 22, 2022

Arrest by ‘morality police’

Ms. Amini was arrested by Iran’s morality police on 13 September, and according to news reports, was badly beaten while being taken into custody, which Iranian authorities have denied, claiming instead, that she died of a heart attack.

She reportedly fell into a coma at the Vozara Detention Centre and died in hospital on Friday, 16 September.

“We strongly condemn the use of physical violence against women and the denial of fundamental human dignity when enforcing compulsory hijab policies ordained by State authorities,” the experts said.

“We call on the Iranian authorities to hold an independent, impartial, and prompt investigation into Ms Amini’s death, make the findings of the investigation public and hold all perpetrators accountable”.

Uniting for women

Since Friday, thousands have taken to the streets in cities throughout Iran – including Tehran, Ilam, Isfahan, Kermanshah, Mahabad, Saqez, Sanandaj, Sari and Tabriz – to demand accountability for the young woman’s death and demanding an end to violence and discrimination against women in Iran, particularly their compulsory veiling.

“With each report I have warned that unless UN Member States change course in the way they collectively respond to this crisis, the people of Myanmar will suffer even further,” he told the Human Rights Council in Geneva, saying that conditions have “gone from bad to worse, to horrific for untold numbers of innocent people in Myanmar”. 

‘Stakes could not be higher’

#HRC51 | Special Rapporteur on #Myanmar Tom Andrews updated the Human Rights Council on #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar:

"Conditions have gone from bad to worse to horrific," he said. "Many in Myanmar have come to the conclusion that the world has forgotten them, or doesn’t care." pic.twitter.com/aOFEORuicF

— UN Human Rights Council 📍 #HRC51 (@UN_HRC) September 21, 2022

Mr. Andrews presented a grim assessment of 1.3 million displaced people; 28,000 destroyed homes; villages burned to the ground; more than 13,000 children killed as the death toll for innocent people rises significantly; a looming food crisis; and 130,000 Rohingya in de facto internment camps while others suffer deprivation and discrimination rooted in their lack of citizenship.

“Let me be frank: the people of Myanmar are deeply disappointed by the response of the international community to this crisis. They are frustrated and angered by Member States that are working to prop up this illegal and brutal military junta with funding, trade, weapons, and a veneer of legitimacy,” he spelled out.

“But they are also disappointed by those nations that voice support for them, but then fail to back up their words with action. The stakes could not be higher”.

 

War crimes

The Myanmar military is committing war crimes and crimes against humanity daily, including murder, sexual violence, torture, and the targeting of civilians, Mr. Andrews continued.

And conflict is spreading throughout the country as increasingly more civilians take up arms against the junta.

He noted that the UN has been playing a central role in the development of an international order where the rule of law is firmly established, but also added that its foundation has been gravely shaken.

‘Rule of law, not rule by force’

“We stand at a historic watershed moment,” he continued, stressing: “Russian aggression against Ukraine is an act that tramples on the vision and principles of the UN Charter. What is crucial is for any and all countries to be under the rule of law, not the rule by force, which we absolutely cannot allow.”

Moreover, the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, which is a permanent member of Security Council, threw the credibility of the UN into question. Calling on Member States to restore the Organization’s credibility he said: “What we need is action toward reforms, not just talk.”

The Japanese leader emphasized that the UN exists not merely for the great Powers, but for the entire international community, founded on the principle of sovereign equality for all Member States, and underlined the need to reform the United Nations and strengthen its functions.

To demonstrate Japan’s strong commitment to the UN as well as to multilateralism, the Prime Minister declared the country’s determination to fully realize the vision of the UN: Reform of the Organization, including the Security Council, to return to the vision and principles of the UN Charter with the strengthening of UN’s own functions, including disarmament and non-proliferation; realization of a United Nations that promotes a rule of law in the international community; and promotion of efforts based on concept of human security in the new era.

A world without nuclear weapons

The Japanese leader denounced the threat of the use nuclear weapons by Russia.

Subcategories