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First Person: Caught in the crossfire in Ukraine

“I’m in Kyiv, ending a fast-paced visit to IOM operations in Ukraine and Moldova.

Sirens awoke me, and I was rushed to a bunker in my hotel. Yes, I was scared, but that’s not why I’m writing this. I now have a glimpse into what millions of Ukrainians, and all of my staff here have had to endure for 18 months.

When I got the all-clear I was deeply saddened to learn that two people died in this attack: two more lives cut short, more families with empty places at their tables.

While this might not always feel quite like the capital of a country at war, its shadow is always present. From my journey from Moldova to Odesa, traveling through fields of wheat and sunflowers to Kyiv, I see how war has changed Ukraine and its people.

Commitment to recover

You have to see Ukraine to truly understand what its people have endured, and while I have not been to the scarred east, nor to benighted Mariupol, what I have seen and heard over the past few days has left me in awe of the country’s commitment to recover and to develop.

In the cities in Poland, in the new businesses that Ukrainians are starting in Moldova, at my meetings with communities and officials in Moldova and Ukraine, I have heard one word over and over: Recovery.

That is a testament to the inner strength of a people who have lived – are living – through the horrors of war. It also speaks to the resolve of the international community and to multilateralism.

We have pledged not to forget Ukraine. We have pledged to help the country and its people to rebound.

More than 4.7 million Ukrainians have returned to their homes, one million of them from abroad. They know where they feel at home, and they want to be in control of their futures.

And we are helping them do just that. Over five million people have been directly assisted by IOM, with food, water, healthcare, shelter, cash grants, mental health support, and – crucially – shelter, including home repairs.

IOM Deputy Director for Operations Ugochi Daniels visits the Bila Tserkva main water reservoir and pumping station near Kyiv, during her visit to Moldova and Ukraine.

IOM Deputy Director for Operations Ugochi Daniels visits the Bila Tserkva main water reservoir and pumping station near Kyiv, during her visit to Moldova and Ukraine.

‘It’s about people’

As we entered Kyiv from Odesa, we stopped at Bila Tserkva, which came under heavy attack last year. We saw how IOM and our international partners have rehabilitated a water station serving 250,000 people, as well as repairing damaged sewage and heating facilities.

It is work like that which will help Ukrainians face the upcoming winter with a glimmer of confidence. 

And we visited the local hospital, also heavily damaged in aerial attacks. It is one of 463 key infrastructure buildings that IOM has helped to renovate.

But, recovery is about more than bricks and mortar and pipes and wires.

It’s about people.

In Bila Tserkva, our programmes are providing grants to hairdressers and beauticians, tailors, accountants, and baristas. We are helping people get back to work, today, and giving them hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Our business grants programme has supported 500 small and micro-enterprises that were affected by the war and helped them retain over 4,000 working places and create more than 1,700 new jobs.

We also help people in Ukraine heal their invisible wounds by overcoming stigma related to seeking mental health support, individual counselling, and community-based psychosocial activities, and by tutoring local mental health practitioners.

IOM Deputy Director for Operations Ugochi Daniels (left) visits a vocational training facility that participates in the agency's livelihoods and mental health and psychosocial support programme in Kyiv, Ukraine.

IOM Deputy Director for Operations Ugochi Daniels (left) visits a vocational training facility that participates in the agency’s livelihoods and mental health and psychosocial support programme in Kyiv, Ukraine.

‘This war has united us as never before’

I’m also thinking about the more than half a million non-Ukrainians who had to leave after the invasion and who are spread all over Europe, all over the globe. 

They were students, labour migrants, entrepreneurs, and people in search of a better life. They, and people like them, will play a huge part in the rebuilding and redevelopment of Ukraine, when the war ends, as end it must.

As I was sitting in the bunker waiting for the all-clear, the words of a young mother, a Ukrainian refugee I met in Moldova, at the start of my journey rang in my ears: ‘This war has united us as never before. I never would have believed just how strong our bonds are, how much we want to help one another.’

There are huge challenges, and there will be more lives lost, more communities devastated, and still millions of people will be working tirelessly to improve the future of their families and support the recovery of their country. We know that. That is why we stay. That is why I am here.”

Learn more about how IOM is helping the people of Ukraine here.

Guterres calls for end to ‘atrocious crime’ of enforced disappearances

Enforced disappearance has regularly been used as a tool for instilling fear and exert control over a population. The feeling of insecurity it generates is not limited to close relatives of the disappeared, but also their communities and society as a whole.

In a post on social media platform X, The UN chief said enforced disappearance was “a serious human rights violation that has frequently been used to spread terror…I call on countries to help put an end to this atrocious crime”.

News that may never come

According to the UN human rights office (OHCHR), enforced disappearance can be defined as the arrest, detention, or abduction of an individual by the State or group acting with the authorization of the State, followed by concealment of the whereabouts of the disappeared person. 

It is a crime under International Human Rights Law. Victims are frequently subjected to torture and live in perpetual fear for their lives. Their families, ignorant of the fate of their loved ones, are left wondering and waiting for news that may never come.

According to the UN, hundreds of thousands of people have vanished during conflicts or periods of repression in at least 85 countries around the world. 

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‘Every day is a fight’

“For the families & friends of the disappeared, every day is a fight to know the fate & whereabouts of their loved ones. Truth & justice are essential,” said High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, in a tweet on Wednesday.

“I call on States to guarantee protection, accountability, transparency & redress for all victims of enforced disappearances,” he continued. 

Global problem

Enforced disappearance, once largely the product of military dictatorships, has become a global problem and is not restricted to a specific region of the world. It has been used frequently as a means of political repression.

At the same time as the UN General Assembly sanctioned the international day in December 2010, the same resolution adopted the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and declared 30 August the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, beginning in 2011.

Practical support

OHCHR officials and a large group of UN-appointed regional human rights experts urged States to provide effective access to justice for victims who have suffered harm as the direct result of enforced disappearance, in a statement delivered on Tuesday.

They warned that ensuring adequate access to justice and proper accountability for perpetrators at all levels was critical.

“Access to justice must not be merely theoretical but guaranteed in practice through concrete measures that promote and fully value the genuine and meaningful participation of victims and their representatives throughout the process,” the experts said.

In the context of the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, OHCHR officials and the group of UN-appointed human rights experts jointly called on all member states to make pledges to promote justice for all victims of enforced disappearances without delay, and to ratify international and regional instruments on enforced disappearances.

UN-appointed regional human rights experts are part of the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council, work on a voluntary and unpaid basis, are not UN staff, and work independently from any government or organisation.

UNICEF urges support for children, as wildfires rage across Greece

Fuelled by record temperatures and high winds, the deadly fires that began across the country in July have so far claimed 27 lives, including two children – both asylum seekers, according to news reports.

They were among 18 bodies discovered by Greek authorities on 22 August in the national forest of Dadia, in the northeast, reportedly all asylum seekers. A 19th body was found last Thursday.

As of the end of 2022, around 86,600 refugees and asylum seekers have been sheltering in Greece, with refugees from Ukraine accounting for around 25 per cent.

Lost everything

Children have been among the hardest hit by the disaster, said Ghassan Khalil, UNICEF Representative in the Mediterranean nation.

“They have lost their homes, families have lost their livelihoods, and some have lost their lives. Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with all those affected and all those responding.”

Many children are also suffering health issues, especially due to the air pollution caused by the blaze.

UNICEF for its part is working with authorities and humanitarian partners to support children and their families, providing them with medical supplies, essential items and psychosocial support.

Unprecedented disaster

The risk of new fires – or the rapid spread of existing ones – is anticipated to remain high over the next 48 hours, according to media reports.

The flames have destroyed over 155,000 hectares of forests, farmlands and urban land so far, an area twice the size of New York City, and affected over 100,000 people, including around 30,000 children.

As flames moved toward a medical facility in northern Greece, 11 newborns were among patients in intensive care who have had to be moved to a makeshift hospital on a boat, UNICEF noted.

UN Women welcomes FIFA action against Spanish football federation chief

UN Women issued a statement on Tuesday hailing the decision by the global football organization FIFA to suspend Spanish soccer federation president Luis Rubiales for kissing star player Jennifer Hermoso on the lips without her consent, after the national team won the Women’s World Cup earlier this month.

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“UN Women, as a supporter of women’s sport and partner of FIFA, welcomes FIFA’s decisive action with regard to the actions of the Spanish football federation president and the launching of a full investigation after a clearly inappropriate act towards a sportswoman at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup final,” it said.

Ninety-day suspension

Spain defeated favourites England 1-0, scoring its first-ever victory at the competition, which takes place every four years. This year’s tournament was held in Australia and New Zealand.

The kiss occurred during the medal ceremony in Sydney on 20 August.  Mr. Rubiales said he made a mistake and that the kiss was consensual, but Ms. Hermoso has stated emphatically  that it was unsolicited and she felt violated.

Since then, there have been calls for Mr. Rubiales to resign and the winning squad has said it would not play for Spain until he is removed.

FIFA announced on Saturday that he has been suspended for 90 days while disciplinary proceedings are underway.

Red card for harassment

UN Women said it “joins all those asserting zero tolerance for any form of abuse or harassment, at anytime, anywhere in women’s sports.”

“Women everywhere have the right to fully participate in sports without any form of abuse or harassment – be it behind closed doors, in locker rooms, on social media, or on the world stage,” the statement said.

Furthermore, everyone involved in sports, at whatever level, has a duty to play their part.

“We must collectively commit that violence, harassment, and abuse in women’s sport will not be tolerated and cannot continue, so that we can truly say it’s over.” 

Rights experts call for second UN Decade for People of African Descent

They stressed that more than ever, the world urgently needs humanity to unite and collaborate in a spirit of equality and non-discrimination.

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“This demands political will to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination, inequality and stratification at both the domestic and international levels,” they said in a statement.

Achieving this goal means that inequalities within and among countries will need to be drastically decreased, and the legacies of colonialism, apartheid, enslavement and genocide effectively resolved, they added. 

‘A cause for humanity’ 

The General Assembly proclaimed 2015 to 2024 as the International Decade for People of African Descent, with actions at the national, regional and global levels. 

Objectives include promoting respect, protection and fulfilment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by people of African Descent, and greater knowledge of their diverse heritage, culture and contributions to society. 

“The cause of people of African descent for recognition, justice and development is a cause for humanity,” the experts stated.

Sustain the momentum

They said the UN Decade, together with the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, have contributed significantly to combatting racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance.

“However, there is much more work to be done and the momentum gained must be sustained,” they said.

They urged the General Assembly to consider proclaiming a second International Decade for People of African Descent from 2025 to 2034, “with a view to taking further action to address systemic discrimination and legacies of the past to bring about the full recognition, justice, and development for people of African descent worldwide.”

‘Pervasive discrimination’ persists

The 13 experts were appointed by the UN Human Rights Council and are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.

They issued their appeal on the eve of the International Day for People of African Descent. 

In his message for the Day, UN Secretary-General António Guterres highlighted “the enormous impact” that both the African continent and people of African descent have had on the development, diversity and richness of world civilizations and cultures, which constitute the common heritage of humankind. 

“At the same time, we acknowledge the pervasive discrimination faced by people of African descent around the world, and the many obstacles they face to realising their full human rights,” he said.


Promote equality, combat racism 

He noted that recent years have seen renewed momentum for change, based on the global anti-racism movement of 2020.  Millions of people took to the streets of major cities worldwide following the police killing of George Floyd, an African American man, that May. 

Mr. Guterres pointed to UN initiatives, such as the establishment of the Expert Mechanism to Advance Racial Justice and Equality in the context of Law Enforcement, and the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent, as a testament to the collective aspirations of the African diaspora for justice and equality worldwide.  

The Secretary-General has also made anti-racism a management priority at the UN, where he has appointed a Special Adviser and team charged with overseeing implementation of a Strategic Action Plan on Addressing Racism and Promoting Dignity for All.

Call to action

“Today, as we mark the International Day for People of African Descent, I reiterate the call of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to use the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to announce and take prompt and robust steps to advance equality and combat racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia,” he said. 

The UN chief urged countries to take concrete steps, with the full participation of people of African descent and their communities, to tackle old and new forms of racial discrimination; and to dismantle entrenched structural and institutional racism.

“Today and every day, we must continue to speak out against all ideas of racial superiority, and work tirelessly to free all societies from the blight of racism,” he said.


‘Not the time to forget’ Central African Republic

In a country of some six million people, over two million suffer from acute hunger, and the prevalence of chronic malnutrition in children under five of around 40 per cent is one of the highest in the world, according to the UN famine prevention and response coordination office (OFPRC).

“Because of the protracted crisis, the humanitarian response remains essential and lifesaving,” said Response Coordinator Reena Ghelani, concluding an official visit to the country.

Fragile country

“CAR remains a fragile country,” underscored Mohamed Ag Ayoya, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator.

“This is not the time to forget CAR. The humanitarian country team is committed to keep working with the Government and partners to respond to urgent needs, while strengthening households and communities’ resilience.”

In 2023, the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance and protection is estimated at 3.4 million, of which 2.4 million are due to served by the $533 million Humanitarian Response Plan.

However, despite massive needs, aid programmes remain stymied by lack of funding, insecurity and poor infrastructure.

Protecting civilians

The remote Haut-Mbomou prefecture, in southeast CAR, is one of the worst affected regions. At the start of this year almost 80 per cent of the population there were in urgent need of security and protection.

Increased clashes, abductions and barricades set up by armed groups further exacerbated the situation, leaving many communities cut off from assistance.

Against this backdrop, the UN peacekeeping mission in the country, MINUSCA, has stepped up long-range patrols in the strategic Mboki-Zemio axis in the prefecture to improve protection of civilians and escort humanitarian convoys.

MINUSCA also recently launched quick impact projects to repair six bridges in Mbomou prefecture, to improve humanitarian access for communities as well as for peacekeepers contributing to their protection, mission spokesperson Lt. Col. Abdoul Aziz Ouédraogo said.

Mexico: Rights experts ‘outraged’ over attacks on women activists

“We are outraged that those searching for forcibly disappeared family members and loved ones continue to be targeted and face violence in Mexico,” they said in a statement, issued in the wake of two recent incidents.

Brutal killing 

Human rights defender Teresa Magueyal was shot dead while riding her bicycle in Celaya, Guanajuato state, on 2 May.  Her son, José Luis Apaseo Magueyal, 34, disappeared three years ago.

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Ms. Magueyal was part of a group formed by families of people who have disappeared and was the sixth volunteer to be killed since 2021, according to media reports.

Two months earlier, Araceli Rodríguez Nava, who is in a tireless search for her disappeared son, was attacked in Chilpancingo, capital of Guerrero state. The incident took place on 4 March.

Both women were beneficiaries of the federal protection mechanism for human rights defenders and journalists, the UN experts said. Although their cases remain under investigation, information about its effectiveness has been scarce. 

Ensure freedom and safety

The UN experts urged the Mexican authorities to ensure human rights defenders working on enforced disappearances can operate freely and safely.

They said enforced disappearances and attacks targeting these activists are linked to the presence of organised crime groups, extortion, human trafficking, kidnapping networks, corruption and collusion with authorities.

Furthermore, operating in a constant environment of fear, threat and insecurity has an intimidating effect on relatives of the victims, civil society, human rights defenders, and organisations.

Investigate and prosecute 

They added that many of the rights defenders are women and older persons, increasing their risk of being targeted.

“It is extremely worrying that impunity for crimes against human rights defenders and activists continues despite complaints being filed. Prevention measures and protection for victims and targets of the attacks are either not provided, or not effective,” they said.

“The Government of Mexico needs to promptly investigate, prosecute, and impose appropriate sanctions on any person responsible for the alleged violations”. 

Adopt all measures 

As their statement was issued on the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, the UN expert surged the Mexican Government “to adopt all necessary measures to prevent irreparable damage to the life and personal integrity of those searching for the forcibly disappeared, their family members, civil society movements, organisations and public servants.” 

They noted that a presidential campaign called De Frente a la Libertad is underway in Mexico that is giving greater visibility to the risks faced by journalists and human rights activists in the country.

They said it was time for authorities to take effective measures to protect human rights defenders searching for truth and justice. 

About UN rights experts 

The statement was issued by Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; Reem Alsalem, UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls, and Claudia Mahler, Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons.

It was endorsed by a UN Working Group and Committee whose mandates cover enforced or involuntary disappearances.

The experts were appointed by the UN Human Rights Council and work on a voluntary basis.

They are not UN staff and do not receive payment for their work.  


UN chief ‘firmly condemns’ Gabon coup, notes reports of election abuses

Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said that UN chief António Guterres was following the evolving situation in the capital Libreville “very closely”.

While condemning military action as “a means to resolve the post electoral crisis”, the Secretary-General said he had noted the announcement by the Central African nation’s electoral body of a win for incumbent president Ali Bongo with “deep concern” given reports of serious irregularities at the polls.

‘Strong opposition’ to coups

This announcement of a military takeover in the capital by a group of officers who declared the election results void and the dissolution of State institutions, would mark the eighth coup – if successful – in West and Central Africa since 2020.

“The Secretary-General reaffirms his strong opposition to military coups”, said the UN Spokesperson.

According to news reports, the coup leaders have placed President Bongo under house arrest, ending in effect more than half a century of dynastic rule.

The current president’s father, Omar, came to power in 1967, and after violent unrest erupted following his disputed election victory in 2016, there was a foiled coup attempt in 2019.

News reports said the coup leaders calling themselves The Committee of Transition and the Restoration of Institutions, had declared the country to be in a state of institutional, political, economic and social crisis.

So far, there has been no response from the existing Government and the president’s whereabouts are unknown.

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The country is currently an elected member of the UN Security Council.

Dialogue and restraint call

“The Secretary-General calls on all actors involved to exercise restraint, engage in an inclusive and meaningful dialogue and ensure that the rule of law and human rights are fully respected”, said the statement issued by his Spokeperson. 

“He also calls on the national army and security forces to guarantee the physical integrity of the President of the Republic and his family.”

Standing with the people

Mr. Dujarric also stressed that the UN “stands by the people of Gabon.”

Questioned by correspondents at the daily Noon Briefing in New York on the pattern of military coups across the region, he said the best way of dealing with them “is in fact to invest more in preventing them prior, in investing in strong institutions, in ensuring that elections are safe, that people are able to express themselves, that human rights are respected.”

The UN has 81 international staff and 163 national staff working in the country and Mr. Dujarric said that latest information suggested that all staff and their families were safe and sound.

“Our broader concern is really for the people of Gabon, and people of countries that have undergone military coups recently which is a clear violation of their rights.”

UN expert urges immediate review of discredited UK sentencing scheme

As of the end of 2022, close to 2,900 people were still being held under the scheme.

Unresolved legacy

Between 2005 and 2012, English and Welsh courts used the IPP legislation to issue indeterminate sentences to those deemed likely to cause serious public harm, “until they no longer represented such a risk”, said a press release issued by the UN human rights office OHCHR on behalf of the UN torture expert, Alice Jill Edwards. 

These sentences were mandatory for more than 50 specified serious crimes initially, leading to a larger than expected number being incarcerated – a total of 8,711.

Crucially, the cancellation of the scheme after 2012 was not retrospective.

“The Government must step up its efforts to ensure rehabilitation opportunities for all those affected, as well as access to adequate and appropriate reparations,” said Ms. Edwards, officially known as the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Disturbing suicide rate

A recent parliamentary report on the nearly 3,000 prisoners who remain under the scheme, brought attention to the significant psychological distress experienced by these inmates.

This includes elevated instances of self-inflicted harm, thoughts of suicide, efforts at self-harm, and tragic instances of suicide.

‘Cruel, inhuman and degrading’

“The distress, depression and anxiety caused by this scheme is severe for prisoners and their families,” Mrs. Edwards said.

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Moreover, IPP prisoners are reportedly about 2.5 times more susceptible to self-harm than the general prison population, with Government data from 2021 revealing 65 cases of suicide among IPP prisoners.

“For many, these sentences have become cruel, inhuman and degrading. They have been acknowledged by successive UK governments and even described as indefensible by a justice minister – yet they persist,” she said. 

Call for change

Having communicated with the Government and other experts, Mrs. Edward underscored that the programme violates essential principles of fair justice and the rule of law, and individuals reintegrated into society under IPP can be re-incarcerated at any point. 

Mrs. Edwards conveyed her concerns over a lack of funds for effectively overseeing IPP prisoners, which has led to restricted entry to essential rehabilitation initiatives.

Furthermore, she highlighted the concept that indeterminate sentences should be employed sparingly and preserved for only the gravest crimes.

‘Mess’ of a system

Without safeguards, “we are left with the mess that is the UK’s IPP system, where people are held without being able to prove that they deserve to be released. It is therefore not surprising that many IPP prisoners are in a much worse mental state than at the time they were sentenced,” she said.

Special Rapporteurs and UN Human Rights Council-appointed independent experts who serve on Working Groups are not UN staff and are independent from any government or organisation. They serve in their individual capacity and receive no salary for their work.

Hundreds of thousands trafficked into online criminality across SE Asia

OHCHR said that at least 120,000 people across Myanmar and another 100,000 in Cambodia may be held in situations where they are forced to execute lucrative online scams – from illegal gambling to crypto fraud.

Other States including Lao PDR, the Philippines and Thailand have also been identified as main countries of destination or transit.

Victims, not criminals

“People who are coerced into working in these scamming operations endure inhumane treatment while being forced to carry out crimes,” said UN rights chief Volker Türk. “They are victims. They are not criminals,” he insisted.

The latest OHCHR report sheds new light on cybercrime scams that have become a major issue in Asia, with many workers trapped and forced to participate in scams targeting people over the internet.

The report notes workers face a range of serious human rights violations, and many have been subjected to abuses such as torture, arbitrary detention, sexual violence and forced labour.

Victims of such operations can be scammed an average of $160,000 each, often through sophisticated scripts sent via unregulated social media applications.

According OHCHR, these victims come from across the ASEAN region as well as mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, South Asia and even further afield from Africa and Latin America.

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Mr. Türk called on States to ensure justice “for the people who have been so horrifically abused.” 

Noticeable trends

Speaking in Geneva, Pia Oberoi, OHCHR’s Senior Advisor on Migration and Human Rights in Asia Pacific, said ongoing regional “economic distress” paired with the COVID-19 pandemic has meant there is a lack of regular and safe pathways towards decent work opportunities.

“This has meant populations are more likely to rely on recruitment forums or intermediaries,” so criminal gangs are increasingly targeting individuals through these platforms, suggesting victims are destined for real jobs.

“There weren’t red flags being raised” – particularly for the more educated, multilingual young men who the report notes are frequent victims.

“It follows a pattern of how labour migration has taken place in the region, and also speaks to the sophistication of these fraudulent recruitments,” added Ms. Oberoi.

Weak regulations

According to OHCHR, the COVID-19 pandemic and associated response measures had a drastic impact on illicit activities across the region – with increased virtual work and the movement of business to less regulated spaces. 

Ms. Oberoi said the situation is “unfolding in locations where regulation is weak,” such as conflict affected border areas in Myanmar, “with little to no rule of law” and in “laxly regulated jurisdictions such as special economic zones in Laos PDR and Cambodia.” 

Describing the trends across the region, she added that the ability of ASEAN nationals to travel across borders without a visa, also means there is a “lack of protection sensitive screening”, as officials don’t always have the training to “identify protection sensitive responses.”

Justice for victims

Although there are several regional legal frameworks to prosecute such crimes, OHCHR said there is a lack of implementation by States and often forced criminality is not seen as a legal violation.   

Even when victims are rescued or escape, rather than being protected and given access to the rehabilitation and remedy they need, they are often subjected to criminal prosecution or immigration penalties, OHCHR said. 

“All affected States need to summon the political will to strengthen human rights and improve governance and the rule of law, including through serious and sustained efforts to tackle corruption,” said Mr. Türk.

“Only such a holistic approach can break the cycle of impunity and ensure protection and justice for the people who have been so horrifically abused.”

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