Oceans, Guapinol case in Honduras, judges in Guatemala... Thursday's news

UNESCO asks for support to map 80% of the seabed

UNESCO wants to map 80% of the seabed by 2030 with the support of its Member States and the private sector.

How can we manage to protect the ocean when we know so little about it? Only 20% of the seabed is mapped. We have to go further and mobilize the international community, said its director, Audrey Azoulay, at the “One Ocean” summit, which is being held until February 11 in the French city of Brest.

Knowing the depth and relief of the seafloor is essential to understanding the location of oceanic faults, the operation of currents and tides, and sediment transport. These data help to anticipate seismic and tsunami risks, to identify fishing resources and protection zones or to respond effectively to catastrophes.

UNESCO has also asked the 193 Member States to, before 2025, include in the academic plans education about the oceans.

The UN expresses its “deep concern” about the ruling against the defenders of the Guapinol case in Honduras

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Honduras expresses its deep concern over the ruling issued by a court against six of the eight defenders of the environment in the Guapinol case, a mining project in the Caribbean.

“We reaffirm that Guapinol defenders are defenders of human rights, land, territory and the environment, who carry out commendable work in favor of democracy in the country. They have served more than 29 months of arbitrary deprivation of liberty and, as determined by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, their release and full reparation are due,” said Isabel Albaladejo Escribano, representative of the office in Honduras.

The Office considers that the actions of the Public Ministry “was not governed by the principle of objectivity and failed to comply with the minimum standard of proof to prove the guilt of the accused defenders.”

The UN regrets that the judicial resolutions “present indications of a lack of impartiality and lack of motivation, which translates into a violation of the guarantees of due process and the right to a fair trial.”

Attacks against judges in Guatemala have increased after the closure of the CICIG

And in Guatemala, the human rights office denounces that the attacks against prosecutors, judges and lawyers have increased after the announcement of the Government that it would unilaterally end the agreement with the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala CICIG.

According to the office, prosecutors, judges, magistrates and lawyers who work to combat corruption and impunity become human rights defenders.

The report denounces “attacks against justice operators, their families and their close circle, as retaliation for their work.”

These attacks have increased since November 2018, after the government announced that it would unilaterally end the agreement with the CICIG. In particular, Several magistrates of the Constitutional Court denounced harassment, intimidation and stigmatization, becoming qualified as “traitors” for the decisions that they have been responsible for issuing in relation to the maintenance of the constitutional order.

The office calls for “greater political commitment and legal support” to develop a comprehensive public policy to protect defenders.

Africa can control the COVID-19 pandemic in 2022, says WHO

Almost two years after Africa identified its first case of COVID-19, the World Health Organization believes that, if current trends continue, the continent can control the pandemic in 2022.

So far there have been reports more than 11 million cases of COVID-19, 3% of the world total, and 242,000 deaths, just over 4% of the total.

Furthermore, according to the World Bank, the pandemic is estimated to have plunged up to 40 million people in Africa into extreme poverty.

“However, today we can finally say that if the current trend continues there is light at the end of the tunnel. If we remain vigilant and act intensively, especially on vaccination, the continent is on the way to controlling the pandemic,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, director of the agency’s regional branch.

Moeti noted that Africa’s response has been more effective with each wave. The number of ICU beds has gone from eight per million inhabitants in 2020, to 20 per million. The number of oxygen plants has increased by 60%, from 68 to 115; and the number of laboratories capable of detecting COVID has risen from two to more than 900.

Nevertheless, only 11% of the continent’s population is fully vaccinated.

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