Colombia: Security Council hears of ‘epidemic of violence’ against civil society and ex-combatants

While political actors in Colombia are uniting to confront COVID-19, they must also work together to fight “the epidemic of violence” against civil society leaders, human rights defenders and former combatants, the head of the UN mission in the country said on Tuesday during a Security Council meeting held by videoconference.

Carlos Ruiz Massieu reported that despite a national quarantine to avert the spread of the new coronavirus disease, this violence “continues unabated”, with six deaths reported in recent weeks.

“Just as Colombian actors are uniting to confront the pandemic, it is imperative for all actors to end the epidemic of violence against social leaders, human rights defenders and former combatants”, he said.

The on-going bloodshed is “one of the deepest wounds in our national conscience”, said David Santiago Cano Salazar, Colombian Ambassador for One Young World, who also addressed the Council.

First Person: The power of art in a time of coronavirus crisis

In Italy, impromptu concerts, performed from apartment balconies, have become one of the features of life under lockdown. On UNESCO World Art Day, which falls on April 15, a professional violinist told UN News how he is using his talent to help others through the crisis.

Aldo Sebastián Cicchini is a violinist from the Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI) orchestra in Milan, Italy.  When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in Italy, he was involved in a project at La Scala, one of the most historic opera houses in Italy. But, as he explains, work ended after positive cases of the virus were confirmed there in late February.  

"Everyone stopped: opera, cinema, theatre…everything. We are all worried about this, because it's difficult to think about our work as it was before. Right now, it’s so hard to imagine going to a concert in a theatre filled with 1000 people! So, we are concerned that, once the lockdown is over, it will take several months to re-adjust, and life may never be exactly as it was before.
Balcony concerts