The Saudi trial into the killing of critic Jamal Khashoggi has lacked transparency and fallen short on assigning accountability for the crime, the UN human rights office said on Tuesday.
A Saudi Arabian court on Monday jailed eight people for between seven and 20 years for the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, state media reported.
The court jailed the eight people, four months after his family forgave his killers and enabled death sentences to be set aside.
UN spokesman Rupert Colville, told a Geneva briefing that though the UN opposes the death penalty, “this is a case where there has not been proper transparency in the justice process, those responsible should be prosecuted and given sentences commensurate with the crime.
“There is a whole issue of transparency and accountabilty in the case.”
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Maharazu Ahmed
At UNGA, AU chairman solicits ‘comprehensive stimulus package’ for Africa
President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa on Tuesday solicited a comprehensive stimulus package for Africa to enable its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ramaphosa made the appeal in his pre-recorded video statement to the virtual General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Speaking in his capacity as Chairman of the African Union (AU), he also called for suspension of interest payments on Africa’s external and public debts.
The South African president said although the continent had responded “swiftly and effectively” to the pandemic, it would “inevitably set back our developmental aspirations”.
He said: “The resources we have had to redirect to fighting the pandemic has set back our efforts to provide housing, health care, water and sanitation and education to our people.
“When the Secretary-General António Guterres delivered the 18th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in July, 2020, he called on the nations of the world to forge a New Social Contract and a New Global Deal.
“He said we must create equal opportunities for all, that we must advance a more inclusive and balanced multilateral trading system, that debt architecture must be reformed, and that there should be greater access to affordable credit for developing countries.
“It is in the spirit of this New Global Deal, that we call on the international community and our international partners to support the rollout of a comprehensive stimulus package for Africa.
“This will enable African countries to not only mitigate the health impacts of COVID-19 but to aid us in the immense task of rebuilding our shattered economies.”
He, however, acknowledged joint efforts by the G20, International Monetary Fund, World Bank and the UN to address debt sustainability in developing countries.
He noted that pandemic had underscored the urgency with which the world strive to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.
Ramaphosa reiterated the AU’s call for the lifting of economic sanctions against Zimbabwe and Sudan to enable their governments to adequately respond to the pandemic.
According to him, relieving both countries of sanctions will also ensure no one is left behind as the world races against time to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.
Zeroing in on SDG 1, poverty education, the AU chairman noted that the purpose of the UN would remain a mirage until global poverty was eradicated.
He called for expansion of economic opportunities to all our people, especially young people, women and the vulnerable.
Ramaphosa further urged decisive action to rid the continent of corruption, which he said is “robbing our people of the opportunities and services that are their right”.
Edited By: Wale Ojetimi
King of Jordan, Abdullah seeks end to Palestinian-Israeli conflict
Jordan’s King Abdullah said on Tuesday that the only way to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict was through the two-state solution in accordance with international law and the United Nations (UN) resolutions.
“The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the one conflict that started with the UN’s formation and that continues to fester to this very day,” Abdullah told the United Nations General Assembly.
He added that the only way for a just and lasting peace “is an independent, sovereign, and viable Palestinian state on the 1976 lines with Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side with Israel in mutual peace and security.
“We cannot resolve this conflict without working to preserve Jerusalem for all humanity as a unifying city of peace.”
He called on the UN not to rest “as long as injustice and lack of peace persist anywhere in the world.
“The UN must not rest, we must not rest,” he added.
According to him, the coronavirus has exposed the cracks in the global system.
He called for rethinking the role of the UN and other multilateral organisations “to become more impactful in dealing with challenges old and new, be they pandemics or regional conflicts.”
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
Putin calls for space peace treaty, offers coronavirus vaccine to UN
Speaking to the United Nations via video link Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday called for an international treaty to prohibit weapons in space and offered Russia’s coronavirus vaccine to UN employees for free.
Putin made the call while speaking to the United Nations General Assembly via video link.
“Russia is ready to provide the UN with all the necessary qualified assistance.
“In particular, we are offering to provide our vaccine free of charge, for the voluntary vaccination of the staff of the UN and its offices,” Putin said.
He also said that the global economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic had renewed the need for removing trade sanctions.
Russia has been under crippling sanctions by Western powers since it annexed a part of neighbouring Ukraine six years ago.
“Freeing the world trade from barriers, bans, restrictions, and illegitimate sanctions would be of great help in revitalising global growth and reducing unemployment,” Putin said, based on a transcript published on the Kremlin’s website.
While emphasising the need for a treaty to ensure peace in outer space, Putin said: “Russia is putting forward an initiative to sign a binding agreement between all the leading space powers that would provide for the prohibition of the placement of weapons in outer space, threat or use of force against outer space objects.”
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
China not interested in ‘hot or cold war’ — Jinping
President Xi Jinping of China on Tuesday told the United Nations General Assembly that he had no intention to engage any country in “a cold or hot war”.
Jinping’s remark came amid rising tensions between China and the U,S., whose president, Donald Trump, attacked Beijing in his speech earlier.
“We will continue to narrow differences and resolve disputes with others through dialogue and negotiation.
“We will not seek to develop only ourselves or engage in zero sum game,” Jinping said in his pre-recorded video address to the virtual gathering of world leaders.
UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres had earlier in the day, warned against a “new Cold War” between China and the United States, saying the face-off between the two countries was moving the world in “a very dangerous direction”.
“Our world cannot afford a future where the two largest economies split the globe in a great fracture, each with its own trade and financial rules and internet and artificial intelligence capacities.
“A technological and economic divide risks inevitably turning into a geo-strategic and military divide. We must avoid this at all costs,” he said.
Relations between the United States and China – both nuclear-armed countries and veto power holders in the UN Security Council – have deteriorated since 2019.
The Trump administration is accusing China of unfair trade practices, intellectual property theft, and cyber espionage – all of which Beijing has denied.
The situation had triggered a series of economic sanctions including visa restrictions and expulsions by Washington targeting Chinese government officials, companies, diplomats, and students.
China had retaliated in some cases, including the closure of the American consulate.
In his statement earlier at the Assembly, Trump in his characteristic forthrightness, put China on the spot over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the environment.
“We must hold accountable the nation which unleashed this plague onto the world: China,” Trump said.
He accused China of dumping “millions and millions of tons of plastic and trash into the oceans and overfishing other countries’ waters”.
“China’s carbon emissions are nearly twice what the United States has, and it’s rising fast.
“Those, who attack America’s exceptional environmental record while ignoring China’s rampant pollution are not interested in the environment.
“They only want to punish America and I will not stand for it,” he said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Emmanuel Yashim