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UN chief ‘shocked and disturbed’ by video of car sex act in Israel

The United Nations says it is “shocked and deeply disturbed” by footage of an apparent sex act in one of its official cars in Israel.

The clip shows a woman in a red dress straddling a man in the back seat of a white 4×4 with UN markings.

The video, shared widely on social media, was apparently filmed on a main street by Tel Aviv’s seafront.

The UN said it was investigating the incident and was close to identifying the individuals seen in the video.

Those involved are believed to be staff members of a peacekeeping organisation in Israel, the UN said. 

Another passenger can be seen slumped in the front, but the driver can’t be seen as the car moves away.

Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesman for the UN’s Secretary General, António Guterres, described the behaviour seen in the 18-second video as “abhorrent”.

That kind of behaviour “goes against everything we stand for and having been working to achieve in terms of fighting misconduct by UN staff”, Mr Dujarric told the BBC on Friday.

When asked if the apparent sex act was consensual or involved payment, Mr Dujarric said those questions were part of the ongoing investigation.

The UN has strict policies against sexual misconduct by its staff members.

Staff may be disciplined if they are found to be in breach of conduct rules. They may be repatriated or banned from UN peacekeeping operations, but it is the responsibility of their home nation to take further disciplinary or legal action.

The UN has long been under scrutiny over allegations of sexual misconduct by its peacekeepers and other staff. There have been frequent allegations in recent years.

Secretary General Guterres has pledged to take a “zero-tolerance” approach to sexual misconduct with the UN’s ranks.

What did the UN spokesman say about the video?

“We are shocked and deeply disturbed by what is seen on this video,” Mr Dujarric said.

He said an investigation led by the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services was “moving very quickly”.

Mr Dujarric said the location of the incident was known and identification of the individuals seen in the video was “close to being completed”.

Based on buildings visible in the video, the footage appears to have been captured on HaYarkon Street, a usually busy area parallel to the promenade.

“We expect the process to be concluded very quickly and intend to promptly take the appropriate action,” Mr Dujarric said.

Mr Dujarric said the individuals involved were probably assigned to the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO), which has served in the region since 1948.

What is the UN’s track record on sexual misconduct?

Heather Barr, co-director of Human Rights Watch’s women’s rights division, said she was “not surprised” by the video from Israel.

Ms Barr, who worked for the UN in Burundi and Afghanistan, said it was “good they’re investigating it”, but added that the UN “has a bigger problem than this one video”.

“That problem is about allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse committed by staff members of the UN,” Ms Barr said.

In 2019, there were 175 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse against UN staff members, a report said. Of those allegations, 16 were substantiated, 15 were unsubstantiated and all others were still being investigated. BBC



UN Human Rights Council talks about rights of people with disabilities amid climate change

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) looked into the rights of people with disabilities in the context of climate change during its 44th session in Geneva on July 8.

UN Human Rights Council talks about rights of people with disabilities amid climate change hinh anh 1

Ambassador Le Thi Tuyet Mai, head of the Vietnamese mission in Geneva 

This is an initiative from Vietnam, the Philippines, and Bangladesh, who co-authored the council’s annual resolution on climate change and human rights.

Delegates shared views on the adverse and unequal impact of climate change on human rights, especially people with disabilities – the most vulnerable group in a crisis like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The majority of those with disabilities live in poverty and this is one of the key components affecting the exposure of persons with disabilities to the impacts of climate change. Others are discrimination and stigma.

Intersecting factors related to gender, age, ethnicity, geography, migration, religion and sex can put persons with disabilities at even higher risk, they said.

They proposed integrating the rights of disabled people into the compilation and implementation of policies and initiatives against climate change, thus ensuring their voice is heard in these processes.

On behalf of ASEAN, Ambassador Le Thi Tuyet Mai, head of the Vietnamese mission in Geneva, told the meeting about the bloc’s efforts in and commitment to fighting climate change.

She said protecting and promoting the rights of people with disabilities is a persistent priority of ASEAN, as reflected through the ASEAN Vision 2025 and the 2025 ASEAN Enabling Masterplan on Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

ASEAN always attaches importance to international cooperation on climate change response and hopes that countries will make strong financial commitments to this in 2020.

ASEAN also hopes that the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 26) to the UN Framework Conference on Climate Change in Glasgow in 2021 will be a success.

Vietnam, the Philippines, and Bangladesh plan to introduce a resolution on human rights and climate change, focusing on the rights of the elderly, to the council during the meeting for consideration./.VNA


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Vietnam expects Japan to continue leading role in multilateral trading system

Vietnam expects that Japan will continue to play a leading role in strengthening the multilateral trading system, facilitating trade and investment, and contributing to regional and global development and prosperity, 

said Ambassador Le Thi Tuyet Mai, head of the Permanent Mission of Vietnam to the UN, WTO and other international organisations in Geneva.

Vietnam expects Japan to continue leading role in multilateral trading system hinh anh 1

Ambassador Le Thi Tuyet Mai, head of the Permanent Mission of Vietnam to the UN, WTO and other international organisations in Geneva 

Speaking at Japan’s 14th Trade Policy Review session at the WTO headquarter in Geneva, Switzerland, from July 6-8, Mai said Vietnam highly valued Japan’s role in the global economy, in the Asia-Pacific region and for Vietnam, and welcomed Japan as one of the important members in the rules-based multilateral trading system.

While highlighting the fruitful development of trade and investment relations between Vietnam and Japan, the ambassador affirmed that Japan has been one of Vietnam’s leading trade and investment partners over the past decade.

In 2008, the two countries signed the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement – the first comprehensive free trade agreement of Vietnam, she added.

New-generation free trade agreements that both Vietnam and Japan are joining such as the ASEAN-Japan Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Partnership (AJCEP) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), as well as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that the two sides are joining negotiations, are paving the way for the two countries to step up cooperative relations, contributing significantly to bilateral trade and investment ties, and their cooperation in other areas such as sustainable development, she stated.

According to the ambassador, Japan has actively participated in and promoted commitments to trade and investment liberalisation in the WTO and other forums such as the Group of Seven (G7), the group of world leading developing and emerging economies (G20), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC), and other regional mechanisms to address challenges to global trade.

The 14th Trade Policy Review session provided an opportunity for WTO members to comprehensively examine economic, trade and investment policies of Japan – one of the world’s largest commodity and service economies.

Most of the WTO members said Japan’s trade and investment policies are opening and transparent, and the country is one of the members playing an important role in the global trading system. The country has contributed to supporting and defending the rule-based multilateral trading system, promoting trade and investment liberalisation, and strengthening the role of the WTO./.VNA


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Vietnam, US leaders exchange congratulations on diplomatic ties



 HANOI – Leaders of Vietnam and the US have exchanged congratulations on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the two countries (July 12).

In his congratulatory letter to US President Donald Trump, Party General Secretary and State President Nguyễn Phú Trọng noted that the US is Vietnam’s leading partner in various areas. In recent years, the two countries have coordinated to address bottlenecks, particularly in trade and finance, thereby consolidating and expanding the comprehensive partnership based on respect for the UN Charter, international law and each others’ political institutions, independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. 

Trọng expressed his belief that the Vietnam-US comprehensive partnership would be strengthened in an effective and sustainable manner, benefiting peoples of both nations and contributing to security, peace and prosperity in the region and the world.

Meanwhile, President Trump affirmed the United States’ commitment to enhancing and expanding bilateral ties based on a shared vision of a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific and respect for each other’s sovereignty.

The United States also reaffirmed it would stand alongside Việt Nam in support of the peaceful resolution of disputes, the rule of law, freedom of navigation and overflight, and unimpeded commerce.

On the occasion, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc exchanged a message of congratulations with President Trump.

Chairwoman of the National Assembly Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân also exchanged congratulations with President of the Senate Michael Pence and Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh sent a congratulatory message to Secretary of State Michael Pompeo.

The US also congratulated Việt Nam on an outstanding year as the Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and announced that the two countries have reached an agreement that would bring Peace Corps volunteers to Việt Nam.


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