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World needs new cooperation to combat global challenges
by Virginia Dandan
Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity
June 2017
International solidarity is increasingly critical in a world riven by political divisions and grappling with global challenges, a UN human rights expert has said.
Virginia Dandan told the Human Rights Council in Geneva that unfolding world events had highlighted the importance of States standing together and developing systems for a new international order.
Presenting a draft declaration on the right to international solidarity, Ms. Dandan, Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity, urged States to see the document as an important step towards building a global system where international cooperation was strengthened and human rights fully realized.
“The idea of international solidarity may seem a world away from people’s daily lives, but this document aims to show States, groups and individuals how they can work together to address some of the most pressing global problems of our age,” said Ms. Dandan.
“We have to do this without losing sight of the fact that human rights must be our primary concern,” she stressed.
Ms. Dandan said the concept of international solidarity - which encompasses cross-border cooperation, humanitarian assistance, sustainable economic relations, peaceful coexistence and protecting the planet – had never been more necessary.
“Some may question its relevance at a time of rising nationalism and fragmentation around the world, with so much focus on our divisions,” she said. “But we humans exist in a state of interconnectedness and interdependence, and it is undeniable that there are global challenges that cannot be resolved without international solidarity.”
“We live in a world where people make hard choices every day, like whether to stay in their homes where they are at risk, or to move and face exclusion and xenophobia,” the Independent Expert said.
“International solidarity insists that we have the ability to build a world where migrants and host communities share in the benefits of forging new opportunities together.”
Solidarity across borders could also help address some of the challenges of globalization, she noted.
“Globalization seems to have deepened inequalities and brought prosperity only to a select few,” the expert said. “International solidarity reminds us that when we put human rights first, we can make all our lives better through global exchange, cooperation and collaboration.”
International solidarity could also open a space for NGOs to come together across borders, in the face of increasing government crackdowns in many countries, she added.
The draft declaration, which took ten years to finalize, stresses the importance of international solidarity in international law, starting from the UN Charter.
The document also presents the framework for a human right to international solidarity, based on equality and participation, and the idea of an international order where human rights can be fully realized.
States, international and regional organizations, civil society and academics were among the contributors to the document.

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UK Election results: PM Theresa May under pressure after losses
by BBC News, Guardian News, agencies
United Kingdom
9 June 2017
UK Election results: PM Theresa May under pressure after losses. (BBC News)
The UK looks set to have a hung parliament with the Conservatives as the largest party, with most general election results now in.
It means Theresa May faces the humiliation of ending with fewer seats than when she called the election.
The Tories are projected to get 318 seats, Labour 261 and the SNP 35.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called on Mrs May to resign - but she said the country needed stability and her party would "ensure" it was maintained.
He said: "What''s happened is people have said they''ve had quite enough of austerity politics, they''ve had quite enough of cuts in public expenditure, underfunding our health service, underfunding our schools and our education service and not giving our young people the chance they deserve in our society".
Labour looks set to make 29 gains with the Tories losing 13 seats - and the Scottish National Party (SNP) down by 22 seats in a bad night for leader Nicola Sturgeon, with her party losing seats to the Tories, Labour and Lib Dems.
The Conservatives are forecast to win 42% of the vote, Labour 40%, the Liberal Democrats 7%, UK Independence Party (UKIP) 2% and the Greens 2%.
Turnout so far is 68.7% - up 2% up on 2015 - but it has been a return two party politics in many parts of the country, with Labour and the Conservatives both piling up votes in numbers not seen since the 1990s.
UKIP''s vote slumped dramatically but rather than moving en masse to the Tories, as they had expected, their voters also switched to Labour.
Mr Corbyn, speaking after being re-elected in Islington North, said it was time for Mrs May to "make way" for a government that would be "truly representative of the people of this country".
He said he was "very proud" of the results so far, which he said were a "vote for hope for the future" and said people were "turning their backs on austerity".
The Conservatives have said that in the event of a hung Parliament, Mrs May would get the opportunity to form a government first. But there is a chance that the UK could be facing a fresh election later this summer under the rules in the Fixed Term Parliament Act.
Questions are also being asked about the potential impact on the upcoming Brexit negotiations and Mrs May''s own future, with one minister telling the BBC''s Laura Kuenssberg it was "hard to see how she could stay after these results".
To get an overall majority, one party needs to get 326 seats, although in practice the Conservatives would be expected to be able to get a Queen''s Speech through with 318 MPs, if they had the backing of the 10 Northern Ireland Democratic Unionist Party MPs.
Conservative MP Anna Soubry, who is against Brexit, said it had been a "dreadful campaign" and Mrs May should "now consider her position".
But her Brexit-supporting colleague Steve Baker said it was essential the party supported Mrs May to "provide all the stability we can".
Speaking at her count in Maidenhead, Theresa May said the full picture had yet to emerge, but added: "At this time more than anything else, this country needs a period of stability.
"And if, as the indications have shown and if this is correct that the Conservative Party has won the most seats and probably the most votes, then it will be incumbent on us to ensure we have that period of stability - and that is exactly what we will do."
DUP MP Simon Hamilton said his party''s votes were going to be "incredibly important" in the new Parliament and they would push to get "a good deal for Northern Ireland as we leave the European Union".
Some big names have lost their seat in a night of upsets - former Lib Dem Leader Nick Clegg has lost his Sheffield Hallam seat to the Labour candidate.
In his defeat speech, Mr Clegg said Britain was now a "deeply divided and polarised" nation and he predicted the next Parliament faced the "excruciating task of trying to assemble a sensible government for this country".
The party has ruled out going into coalition with either the Conservatives or Labour.
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said she was "disappointed" to have lost a number of seats but claimed her party had still "won the election in Scotland".
She said she would like the SNP to "play a part in a progressive alternative to a Tory government" but would wait to see the final results.
Analysis by BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg:
"The conversations have started not just about whether the Tories will be able to form a government, but whether or not Theresa May can stay in her job.. There is no one prevailing mood inside the Tory party, as I write..
Responding to the results of the U.K. election, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders congratulated Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and the British people for "rising up against austerity and massive levels of income and wealth inequality."
"All over the world people are fighting the same battle.. People in the U.K., the U.S. and elsewhere want governments that represent all the people, not just the 1%".
Sanders praised the Labour leader''s "willingness to talk about class issues."
"These problems are not unique to the U.S.," Sanders noted. "Globalization has left far too many people behind. Workers all over the world are seeing a decline in their standard of living. Whilst multinational corporations enjoy huge profits and make the very rich even richer while workers are sucked into a race to the bottom."
8 June 2017
Voting underway in British Election
Polling stations have opened for people to cast their vote in the UK general election.
Polls opened at 07:00 BST at more than 40,000 polling stations across the country, with counting starting once voting ends at 22:00 BST.
A total of 650 Westminster MPs will be elected, with about 46.9 million people registered to vote. That is up from the last general election, in 2015, when there were 46.4 million registered voters.
The United Kingdom uses simple majority, or first-past-the-post, voting — the candidate with the most votes wins and there are no preferences.
Voting is voluntary with all electors allocated to a local polling station which they can attend to vote in person between 7:00am and 10:00pm on polling day.
If a voter cannot attend their allocated polling station on polling day, they must have earlier obtained the right to cast a postal ballot. Postal votes must be in the hands of the returning officer at 10:00pm on election night.
The rules for voting in the UK are aimed to finalise the make-up of the new House of Commons within 24 hours of the close of polls.
There are 650 constituencies — 533 in England, 59 in Scotland, 40 in Wales and 18 in Northern Ireland. To form a majority in the House of Commons one party must win 326 seats.
* BBC Radio 4 election coverage: Radio 4 News Today:
* Guardian Election 2017: Guardian live updates:
* Joseph Rowntree Foundation - Social Safety Nets:

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