This is the News In Brief from the United Nations.
Terrorism ‘spreading and destabilizing’ entire regions, Guterres warns States
“Trauma from terrorism” hurts families, communities and destabilizes entire regions, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Wednesday, as he expressed solidarity with victims of extremist attacks in Africa.
Speaking in Nairobi at a conference on counter-terrorism, Mr. Guterres highlighted the deteriorating situation in the Sahel and “increasing risks” in West Africa, amid attacks by militants in the Lake Chad region, central Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.
“In Africa, as elsewhere, terrorists continue to use sexual violence to spread fear and assert control, and children are often forced to join terrorist groups as a matter of survival…There needs to be a renewed and sustained focus on prevention, including addressing the underlying conditions that cause young men and women to be lured by terrorism. This includes preventing conflicts, addressing fragility, strengthening state institutions and civil society, building durable peace and promoting sustainable development to tackle the poverty, inequality and lack of opportunity that feed despair.”
Ahead of the first Global Congress of Victims in New York next June, Mr. Guterres said there was an urgent need for the international community to support Africa’s 1.3 billion people, many of whom were “on the front line” of anti-extremism efforts.
Myanmar’s Rohingya ‘can and must’ be granted citizenship, says top UN rights official
To the Human Rights Council now, where top UN rights official Kate Gilmore has urged Myanmar to end the statelessness of its ethnic Rohingya, who she said still face “appalling” treatment in Rakhine state.
In an update to Member States, the Deputy High Commissioner said that her Office still receives and verifies reports of sexual violence allegedly committed by security forces there.
Almost two years ago, hundreds of thousands of mainly Muslim Rohingya fled across the border to Bangladesh, in an operation likened to ethnic cleansing by former UN rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein.
Today, only 240,000 Rohingya remain in Rakhine from a previous population of approximately one million, and they continue to be persecuted, Ms. Gilmore said.
“In a continuation of attacks, it was reported that on 2 and 9 May this year Rohingya homes and shops were burned in Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships. Later, in the month of May, on the 28, reports alleged that the remaining Rohingya houses in Taung Bazar, Buthidaung township, were burned to the ground. Our information suggests that the authorities have taken no steps to investigate these attacks.”
The Deputy High Commissioner also cited reports that the authorities have removed Rohingya names from household registration lists, making it almost impossible for them to return home from Bangladesh, or access basic services, such as education and healthcare.
In response, Myanmar’s delegation said that it remained committed to repatriate Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh and to ensuring accountability where there is “concrete evidence” of human rights violations.
Ukraine authorities should show they are serious about justice for Maidan, Odessa killings
And we stay with the Human Rights Council and Deputy High Commissioner Kate Gilmore for our final story, on Ukraine.
Five years since armed conflict erupted in the east of the country between the Government and largely pro-Russian separatists, Ms. Gilmore told the Council that five million people are directly affected by ongoing hostilities along the contact line.
The consequences for the people living in the Donbass region are grave, she explained, noting that her Office had recorded 13 people killed and 78 injured in the first six months of the year from shelling, small arms and light weapons, mines and explosive remnants of war.
Some 700,000 people living in non-Government-controlled areas have no access to their pensions, Ms. Gilmore said, while also noting that in the Crimea, Russia was violating human rights laws by imposing citizenship on Crimean residents, forcibly transferring Ukrainian citizens and deporting prisoners to the Russian Federation.
In an appeal to the Government of Ukraine, the Deputy High Commissioner also noted that it was five years since dozens of demonstrators were killed in Kiev and Odessa, and yet no-one has been prosecuted.
“This continued impunity hampers the long-standing objective of reinforcing justice and peace, Ms. Gilmore said.
At the Council, the Russian Federation said that nothing had been done by the authorities to lift a ban on the Russian language in Ukraine, while also rejecting what they called “unsubstantiated and farcical” efforts by the Government to blame Russia for rights violations.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.