This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Cyclone Idai’s toll on Zimbabwe
Following the destruction caused by Cyclone Idai across southern Africa, eastern provinces of Zimbabwe have continued to experience high winds, torrential rainfall, flash floods and landslides, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Thursday.
This lethal combination has wreaked havoc in several of the country’s districts, causing at least 181 deaths, 175 injuries across the country, with more than 300 people still missing, according to government figures.
Destruction of property and infrastructure has been severe, and an estimated 270,000 people need humanitarian assistance, particularly in Chipinge and Chimanimani, where some 95 per cent of the roads and bridges were damaged.
Search and rescue efforts are ongoing, especially in Chimanimani, where some villages remain inaccessible by road.
So far, some 60,000 children in flood-affected districts need immediate protection services, and 100,000 need welfare and civil registration services.
Stem the bloodshed in Mali
Against the backdrop of ongoing community tensions, an upsurge of violence in Mali’s central Mopti region has prompted a UN human rights expert to call on Thursday for international action to stem the bloodshed.
A series of attacks last Saturday, followed on Tuesday by new violence, has raised the concern of Alioune Tine, the UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the country, over the creation of community-based self-styled “self-defence” armed groups.
Mr. Tine observed that a four-year long proliferation of these groups, coupled with the demise of traditional conflict resolution systems and the limited presence of the Government “have led to the deterioration of the security situation”, adversely impacting people’s basic rights.
With lives and the well-being of civilians hanging in the balance, the UN expert called for “a thorough, prompt and impartial investigation” and that the perpetrators “be brought to justice”.
Adama Dieng, the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, expressed deep concern over the conflict’s growing ethnicization.
Journalist Khashoggi murder trials must meet international standards
Turning to the Middle East, a UN human rights expert said Saudi Arabia’s closed-door trials on the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, have fallen short of international standards.
Agnes Callamard, the UN Special Rapporteur leading an independent human rights inquiry into the killing at the Saudi consulate last October denounced the lack of transparency of Saudi Arabia’s investigation and legal proceedings.
Calling the murder “an extrajudicial killing committed in a consulate office on foreign territory,” she spelled out that “these are not internal, domestic matters”.
The investigation and prosecution must comply with international legal standards, which demands transparency and impartiality.
The Government of Saudi Arabia is “grievously mistaken” she said, if it believes that the current proceedings will satisfy the international community.
Liz Scaffidi, UN News.