This is the news in brief from the United Nations .
Accountability call for targeted South Sudan violence against civilians
Multiple killings and a campaign of sexual violence that may amount to war crimes have been documented in South Sudan’s Unity state, prompting a call for accountability by UN rights monitors.
In a report issued on Tuesday, the UN human rights office, OHCHR, noted the “deliberate…and brutally violent” targeting of civilians, particularly women and children, in April and May.
OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said that at least 232 people were killed in attacks by Government forces on villages in opposition-controlled areas in Mayendit and Leer.
She told journalists that the investigation had identified three individuals with responsibility for the violence, and that one of them has been reportedly removed from his functions:
“I understand that the three individuals were commanders who were shown to be actually in control of the armed forces. Now these armed forces are Government forces, allied forces – so you've got for example one of the opposition forces, which changed its alliances and is now working with the Government, as well as armed youth. What we have found is that in most circumstances these aligned forces and the armed youth are actually under the control of army commanders.”
According to the UN report, at least 120 women and girls were raped and those unable to flee were killed as part of a deliberate “scorched earth” policy that has displaced thousands of people.
It also highlights that opposition armed groups also carried out retaliatory attacks on civilians.
Thai cave boys spared thundershower forecasts ahead of rescue: WMO
Thundershowers that have been forecast in northern Thailand luckily haven’t hampered the daring rescue of a boy’s football team who spent well over two weeks trapped in a cave complex, UN weather experts said on Tuesday.
Clare Nullis, spokesperson for the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), was speaking in Geneva amid reports that all 12 boys and their coach have now been freed by an international team of specialist divers.
“It is the start of the monsoon season in Thailand,” she said. “I’ve been looking at the weather forecast there for Chiang-Rai, for the region, every day for the past week. Every day it has consistently shown the risk of thundershowers; now they haven’t, fortunately, materialized.”
Commenting on several other extreme weather events around the world, Ms Nullis noted that in Japan, flash floods across the country had claimed 150 lives.
Around 10,000 houses have also been inundated or destroyed by the worst flooding in decades.
Elsewhere in Japan, a different weather system, Typhoon Maria, has hit the southwest Ryukyu islands.
The storm has also put Taiwan on “lockdown” in preparation of it making landfall on Wednesday.
Indigenous peoples are among world’s poorest, says UN deputy rights chief
The world’s 370 million indigenous people face discrimination and exclusion on a social, political and economic level but a United Nations panel can help them, the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights has said.
Addressing the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Geneva, Kate Gilmore explained that although indigenous people constitute only five per cent of the world’s population, they account for 15 per cent of the world’s poor.
“Displaced by conflict and environmental disaster; dispossessed of ancestral lands; deprived of resources necessary for physical and cultural survival, in many contexts, indigenous peoples are robbed of the very right to life.”
Noting an increase in the number of indigenous people killed while defending ancestral territories, Ms. Gilmore urged the UN experts to continue encouraging countries to respect the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent for all land projects – as set out in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.