This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
UN rights chief appeals for dialogue in Sudan amid reports ‘70 killed’ in demonstrations
Sudan’s authorities have an “over-arching responsibility” to protect protesters, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said on Tuesday, amid reports that 70 people have died in recent anti-Government clashes.
The rights chief’s comments follow concerns about the reported use of tear gas and live ammunition by security forces against demonstrators in protests that escalated from last December.
Spokesperson for the High Commissioner’s Office, Ravina Shamdasani, said that it had documented “many killings” since the situation deteriorated.
“We have been in touch with the authorities and they have actually invited our Office to visit and we are in discussions with them about this. We are again calling on the Government and security forces to ensure that the right to peaceful assembly is fully respected and the right to freedom of expression is respected, and that a genuine dialogue is undertaken to resolve this very complex situation with very real economic and social grievances of the public.”
Libyan national conference postponed amid violent escalation
An imminent UN-led Libyan conference seeking to set up elections for the war-ravaged, oil-rich country has been postponed because of ongoing clashes near the capital, the top United Nations official in the country said on Tuesday.
Ghassan Salame, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Libya, made the announcement after condemning Monday’s attack by the self-styled Libyan National Army’s (LNA) against the capital’s civilian airport.
The development follows concerns by UN Human Rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, that such attacks may amount to war crimes, including those by LNA commander Khalifa Haftar.
Here’s UN human rights spokesperson, Ravina Shamdasani again:
“Khalifa Haftar’s people are saying that they bombed it because there was a military target. Now even if this is a military target, all feasible precautions need to be taken to minimize the incidental loss of civilian lives, to refrain from indiscriminate attacks. We have reports that the weapons that were used are not…the latest technology; that they may, in effect, have been indiscriminate.”
The spiralling violence comes after years of instability that have followed the overthrow of President Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, with forces from the internationally-recognized and Tripoli-based Government of National Accord, now under assault from the LNA, based in the east.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), medical facilities near Tripoli have reported that 47 people have died and 181 have been wounded in the last three days.
Blast kills 14 children, leaves others fighting for lives in Yemen capital Sana’a
Further details have emerged of an attack near two schools in the Yemeni capital Sana’a at the weekend which killed 14 youngsters and critically injured 16 others.
UNICEF spokesperson Christophe Boulierac said that the blast shattered windows, unleashing a burst of shrapnel and broken glass into classrooms.
“The incident occurred near two schools. It was almost lunchtime. Students were in class. I am not, I am not informed if there is a military or any kind of potential target or potential military or official building near the two schools.”
According to the UN Children’s Fund official, from March 2015 to December 2018, more than 2,600 children have been killed in Yemen.
The incident is the latest grisly development in fighting between supporters of Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and Houthi opposition groups, who control Sana’a – scene of the latest attack.
The UNICEF spokesperson was unable to provide further details about the exact nature of the strike, however, but said that it came in the context of other outrages on civilians, including one in Hajjah, north of Hudaydah on 9 March, in which 12 children died.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.