economy and politics

State of exception in El Salvador, migrants in Peru, COVID-19 and environmental crises… The news on Monday

Venezuelan migrants in Peru

El Salvador: The extension of the state of emergency undermines the right to a fair trial

A group of UN experts on human rights* expressed their concern on Monday about the renewal of the state of emergency in El Salvador, which has been in force for more than a year.

The three specialists asked for its immediate repeal and for the Government to review the new and broad powers established to tackle the gang problem in the country.

The special rapporteurs understand that the obligation to protect citizens from gangs does not empower the government “to trample on the right to a fair trial in the name of public safety.”

They also urged the Salvadoran authorities to guarantee that people are not arrested on the mere suspicion of belonging to or association with a gang without sufficient legal authorization.

Last September, the official numbers of detainees under the new security measures amounted to 58,000, including at least 1,600 minors. Six months later, Executive Decree number 719 of March 2023 stated that “more than 67,000” people had been detained.

The information received by the experts indicates that many of these detentions are arbitrary and some constitute short-term forced disappearances.

Peru should not penalize the rental of homes to migrants

Juliana Quintero and Inés Calderón / OIM

Another group of experts expressed their deep concern about the recent modification of a law approved by the Peruvian Congress that will penalize the rental of homes to migrants who do not have a regular immigration status with heavy fines.

The special rapporteurs recalled that all people have the right to housing “regardless of nationality and immigration status”, and that both refugees and migrants “must be protected against evictions and have access to housing that allows them to live with dignity”.

According to expert estimates, in Peru there are more than 650,000 people without a formal residence situation. If the property owners who house these people end up being fined, thousands of them would be at risk of homelessness

Last week the Ombudsman’s Office filed a lawsuit of unconstitutionality, arguing that the new legal provisions “do not comply with the state’s obligations in terms of human rights.”

The experts urged the Peruvian Constitutional Court to guarantee respect for the right to adequate housing for all people without any type of discrimination.

The end of COVID-19 as a health emergency does not mean lowering our guard

A nurse works in the control room of a catheterization laboratory in Kota Makassar, Indonesia.

The CEO of the World Health Organization (WHO) warned today that the end of COVID-19 as a global health emergency does not mean that this disease ceases to be a threat to the health of the entire world.

In a speech to the member states of the agency in the framework of the 76th World Health Assembly, Dr. Tedros recalled that the threat of the appearance of another variant of coronavirus that could cause “new waves of the disease and deaths” persists. .

He added that the threat of “another pathogen with even deadlier potential” persists and that pandemics are “by no means” the only threat we face.

For this reason, he advocated building “an effective structure for health emergency preparedness and response” that addresses emergencies of all kinds, and indicated that this year’s High-Level Meeting on Pandemic Preparedness and Response represents “a valuable opportunity for leaders chart a clear path to that future.”

“When the next pandemic knocks on the door – and it will – we must be prepared to respond decisively, collectively and equitably,” he said.

Extreme weather events ruin the poorest economies

Seasonal rains regularly cause flooding in Chittagong, Bangladesh.

WHO/Muhammad Amdad Hossain

The half-century effect of extreme weather events fueled by man-made global warming has resulted in more than two million deaths and $4.3 trillion in economic losses, the World Meteorological Organization reported today (WMO).

The countries most affected by this situation were the developing nations that suffered nine out of ten deaths, while 60% of their economic losses corresponded to climatic disasters and extreme weather events.

Several catastrophes that have occurred in the last fifty years in the least developed countries have caused economic losses of up to 30% of gross domestic product (GDP).

In Small Island Developing States, one in five disasters had an impact “equivalent to more than 5%” of GDP, and some of them wiped out the entire gross domestic product of those countries.

However, the Organization stressed that the improvement of the early warning system and the coordinated management of disasters have contributed to mitigating the deadly impact of catastrophes. “Early warnings save lives,” said the organization’s secretary general, Petteri Taalas.

The UN agency also noted that recorded deaths for 2020 and 2021 were below the average for the previous decade.

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