This is the News in Brief from the United Nations
UN rights chief calls for release of hundreds abducted and abused in South Sudan
Hundreds of civilians in South Sudan are still missing after being taken by opposition forces amidst fighting and violence in the country’s Western Equatoria region.
Fighting is continuing despite the signing of a new peace agreement between the President and his main rival, aimed at ending years of bloody civil war. A UN report says the 900 people were abducted months ago, and 24,000 forced to flee their homes.
Julie De Rivero, head of the South African bureau of the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR ) details some of the violence:
“There’s looting there’s rape, there’s sexual violence, but also as I mentioned abductions. So, we documented the case of 41 boys that were forcibly recruited by the SPLM opposition, and women are also often abducted. In fact, in this case 505 women cases were documented, and 63 girls, and often it’s for sexual slavery.”
Head of the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, David Shearer, said UNMISS will be closely monitoring any potential violations and abuses.
‘More time’ agreed for buffer zone, to spare three million Syrian civilians in Idlib
Russia and Turkey have said they will allow “more time” for opposition groups to withdraw from Syria’s Idlib.
The two countries are guarantors of a proposed demilitarized zone to protect three million civilians sheltering in Idlib.
More than seven years of fighting has left hundreds of thousands of Syrians dead, and uprooted millions of others.
The de-escalation zone has been free of air raids for more than a month. Senior Advisor to the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Egeland expressed relief at the halt in violence, and said this will allow more time for diplomacy.
He highlighted that despite this pause in chaos for Idlib, violence continues to plague eastern parts of the country.
Under fire, UN refugee agency evacuates 135 detained in Libya to Niger
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has successfully evacuated 135 refugees and migrants detained in Libya, to Niger.
Agency staff operated under threats of intermittent fire in the capital of Tripoli, airlifting migrants and asylum seekers who had endured months in detention centres, returning with harrowing stories of wretched conditions, and human rights abuses.
Another 85 refugees from Sudan, Syria and Eritrea were flown to the UNHCR Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM) before advancing to Norway.
This evacuation marks the first from Libya since June, bringing the total number of refugees evacuated to 1,977, since December last year.
UNHCR is urging host countries to speed up resettlement processes in efforts to have more evacuations, more often.
Natalie Hutchison, UN News.