UN rights chief Zeid in probe call after Israeli military shoot disabled protester
The fatal shooting by the Israeli military of a wheelchair-bound demonstrator from Gaza was a “wanton act” that merits an independent investigation, the UN human rights chief said on Tuesday.
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein’s appeal follows the death on Friday of Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh.
The 29-year-old was one of hundreds of Palestinians taking part in a protest at the U.S. decision earlier this month to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Rupert Colville is a spokesperson for the High Commissioner:
“Lethal use of firearms should only be employed as a last resort….however as far as we can see, there is nothing whatsoever to suggest that Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh was posing an imminent threat of death or serious injury when he was killed. In the words of the High Commissioner, given his severe disability which must have been clearly visible to those who shot him, his killing is incomprehensible and is a truly shocking and wanton act.”
Widely predicted protests at the U.S. statement on Jerusalem have resulted in five deaths, hundreds of injuries and the large-scale arrests of Palestinians, Mr Colville added.
Alarm over spike in Yemen airstrike victims - OHCHR
To Yemen now, where the UN human rights office (OHCHR) has warned of a surge in civilian casualties from airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition engaged in fighting Houthi rebels.
Latest data gathered by UN staff in the war-torn country indicates that 136 people were killed in the governorates of Sana’a, Sa’ada, Al Hudaydah and Taizz from (the) 6th to (the)16th of December.
The targets of recent aerial strikes included a wedding party in which nine children were killed, and a prison in which more than 45 inmates died.
The UN human rights office said it is also concerned about violence by Houthis against members of former ally President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was killed earlier this month.
These violations include attacks and arbitrary detentions, according to OHCHR, which says that the conflict has claimed the lives of more than 5500 Yemen civilians to date.
Aid response picks up for Ukraine families on contact line
Aid has been stepped up for vulnerable communities in eastern Ukraine, amid ongoing conflict and plummeting temperatures, humanitarian agencies reported on Tuesday.
The conflict between government forces and separatists is well into its fourth year, and has resulted in the uprooting of populations in Donetsk and Luhansk.
Winter has brought additional hardship for people who cannot maintain safe temperatures in their homes.
Andrej Mahecic from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) warned that in January, temperatures drop to minus 20 Centigrade:
“In some villages, the infrastructure such as gas pipes have been damaged by shelling and, as a result, coal and firewood, represent some sole means of heating homes. Our staff report that the people are often forced to make choices between essentially buying food and medicines, or fuel to heat their homes.”
Amid ongoing humanitarian access problems near the contact line, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and UNHCR are providing coal, winter clothing and cash grants, as well as distributing cast-iron stoves, and repairing homes.
According to UNHCR, 1.5 million people have been displaced internally by the conflict and another million have fled the country.
Cameroon violence forces thousands to flee to Nigeria - UNHCR
Staying with UNHCR, the agency has stepped up life-saving support to thousands of people displaced by unrest from English-speaking areas of Cameroon to Nigeria, it said on Friday.
Tensions between security forces and pro-independence demonstrators intensified in October in Cameroon.
Since then, more than 7,000 people have been registered as refugees in south-east Nigeria.
Thousands more people are also waiting for their turn for registration, UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic told journalists in Geneva:
“Given the remoteness of the area, it is very difficult to access and to get a precise finger on the pulse in terms of what might be the daily arrivals at this stage. But certainly we are in the process of beefing up the presence there and as I said, moving on with the government on the registration.”
Irregular food deliveries have meant that some refugees have reported going hungry for days, UNHCR said.
The agency’s objectives include improving food distribution, improving access to latrines, upgrading shelters and installing more communal lighting.
Bronwen Cowley, United Nations, Geneva.