News in Brief 27 June 2017 (AM) – Geneva

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An IOM worker helps a migrant in Seguedine, Niger. Photo: IOM

At least 50 migrants suspected dead in Niger desert

Fifty-two migrants are lost, suspected dead in a desert in central Niger, after they were reportedly abandoned by people smugglers, the UN said on Tuesday.

The information from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) follows an alert by more than 20 survivors, who said they had been part of a convoy of three cars travelling north.

Efforts to find the lost travellers at the weekend were hampered by a sandstorm and their bodies have yet to be found.

In a statement, IOM said that the migrants were from the Gambia, Nigeria, Senegal and Ivory Coast.

The survivors have been taken to Dirkou in north-east Niger where there is water, food, shelter, and medical and psychological assistance.

Small business “can have a big impact on poverty and development”

Entrepreneurs are key to fighting poverty and the future wellbeing of the planet, a senior UN business leader said on Tuesday, to mark Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Day (MSME).

Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre (ITC), said that small businesses are the backbone of most economies worldwide and yet they face many obstacles:

“Today they don’t have access to credit, there is too much red tape, they are not competitive enough to participate in international trade, and because they don’t participate in international trade, the quality of their growth is lower, the quality of the jobs is lower.”

Data provided by the International Council for Small Business (ICSB) indicates that micro, small and medium-sized enterprises account for up to 70 per cent of national employment and half of countries’ wealth.

This year’s MSME day follows an initiative by the UN General Assembly to raise awareness of their contribution to sustainable development.

UN Human Rights chief warns against exploiting terrorist threats

UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s calls for people’s freedoms to be overturned if they got in the way of the fight against terrorism are “highly regrettable”, UN rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has said.

Speaking in London, Zeid said that Mrs May’s comments were “a gift…to every authoritarian figure around the world” who violates human rights under the pretext of fighting violent extremism.

And he added that the “only workable antidote” to the arbitrary nature of terrorism was precisely applied international law.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights told the Law Society that a former Sri Lankan official had cited the UK premier before demanding action against his office for “forcing” Sri Lanka to try war crimes perpetrators, when all it had been doing was fighting terrorism.

In Iraq, the High Commissioner for Human Rights added that public calls to kill youngsters who fight for ISIL, ignored the fact that forget that criminals had rights too.

He added that in Sierra Leone, many child followers of Foday Sankoh, who once attacked other small children, had since been rehabilitated.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 2’40”

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