Brexit poses particular risk to British people in poverty UN independent expert

The UN envoy’s comments came at the end of a 12-day visit to the UK, which saw him travel to nine cities across the country, meeting members of civil society, front line workers, and officials from a range of political parties in local, devolved and UK Governments.He spoke to people directly affected by poverty, including some who depend of food banks and charities for the next meal, homeless families living on friends’ couches, and people who have sold sex in exchange for shelter.With almost all studies showing that the UK economy will be worse off following Brexit, due to be triggered at the end of March, the Government is treating the risks for the 14 million people currently living in poverty as “an afterthought”, said Mr. Alston: “in the fifth richest country in the world, this is not just a disgrace, but a social calamity and an economic disaster, all rolled into one.””In the fifth richest country in the world, this is not just a disgrace, but a social calamity and an economic disaster, all rolled into one” Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rightsFour million of those affected are more than 50 percent below the poverty line, and 1.5 million are destitute, which means that they are unable to afford basic essentials.Mr. Alston pointed out that, after years of progress, the poverty risk in the UK is on the rise, with homelessness up 60 percent since 2010, and child poverty predicted to rise by 7 per cent between 2015 and 2022.The UN envoy said that policies implemented by successive governments have led to “the systematic dismantling of the social safety net (and) inflicted great misery unnecessarily, especially “on the working poor, on single mothers struggling against mighty odds, on people with disabilities who are already marginalised, and on millions of children who are locked into a cycle of poverty from which many will have great difficulty escaping.” Bassam KhawajaPhilip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur for Extreme Poverty and Human Rights meets with a pastor in Clacton, UK (2018). read more

Two Ukrainians killed on eve of Crimea breakaway vote

first_imgUKRAINE IS BRACED today for a breakaway vote in Crimea as deadly violence flared again in the ex-Soviet country’s tinderbox east amid the biggest East-West showdown since the Cold War.The second successive day of deadly unrest that has now claimed three lives in the mainly Russian-speaking east came hours after Moscow – its forces already in control of Crimea and conducting snap drills at Ukraine’s eastern border – warned that it reserved the right to “protect” compatriots throughout its neighbour.A patrolman in an unmarked uniform sits at a security check point near Chongar, Crimea. Pic: AP Photo/Andrei UdovichenkoUS Secretary of State John Kerry had on Friday failed to either avert Sunday’s ballot in Crimea or win Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s assurance that Moscow may delay annexing the Black Sea region that Ukraine only received as a “gift” from Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in 1954.The rugged peninsula of two million mostly Russian speakers is widely expected to vote to split from Ukraine and join Russia after its lawmakers declared independence from Kiev earlier this month.The referendum comes in direct response to three months of deadly protests that on February 22 toppled the pro-Kremlin president and brought to power a new nationalist European-leaning team in Kiev, infuriating Moscow that views Ukraine as its strategic sphere of influence and wants to retain influence over its former Soviet satelite.Kiev has denounced the Crimean vote as illegal but is also warily watching as similar separatist sentiments are being fanned by Moscow supporters in other industrial regions in mostly Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine, which has deep cultural and trade ties to Russia.Pic: AP Photo/Andrei UdovichenkoYet Moscow – whose troops took effective control of Crimea in the days after the Ukrainian president’s February 22 fall – strongly backs the referendum despite a new round painful sanctions against top Russian officials that Washington and EU nations are expected to unveil Monday.Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said he expected to sign in Brussels on Friday the political portion of an historic EU Association Agreement whose rejection in November by the deposed government spaked the initial Kiev unrest.Yatsenyuk said the economic and trade terms of the pact were still difficult for some Ukrainian companies to accept and would be signed “later”.Pic: AP Photo/Andrei UdovichenkoTop Russians blacklisted The European Union will debate travel bans and asset freezes on Monday against Russian officials held responsible for threatening Ukraine’s territorial integrity.Germany’s Bild daily cited Western diplomats as saying that the Russians on the joint US-EU travel ban list will include Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Ivanov along with other top Putin advisers and the heads of the Gazprom and Rosneft state energy groups.US officials have stressed that Putin himself is not on the sanctions list.The United States has also drafted a UN Security Council resolution reaffirming that the Crimean referendum “can have no validity”.Moscow is almost certain to veto the measure when goes up for a vote later today.But Washington hopes to highlight the Kremlin’s isolation by winning support from 13 of the Security Council’s 15 members while also securing the abstention of Russia’s geopolitical ally China.Read: ‘No common vision’: Last-ditch US-Russia talks on Crimea end in failure>last_img read more