This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Breakthrough in new drug treatments to fight Ebola in DR Congo
The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced what could be a major breakthrough in the battle against Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), revealing that two out of four new drugs being tested have shown significantly improved survival rates for patients.
The research co-sponsored by WHO, shows that more than 90 per cent of infected people can survive if treated early.
On Tuesday, two people cured of Ebola using the experimental drugs in a Goma treatment centre, were allowed to go home.
WHO said in a statement that team members together with Government and NGO partners in the field, would continue to work with communities to identify cases, and “provide care as quickly as possible”, as well as continuing with the Ebola vaccination programme.
Despite the breakthrough, the year-long outbreak has killed more than 1,800 people in eastern DRC, and UN Children’s Fund UNICEF reported on Tuesday that the number of children orphaned, or left unaccompanied due to the epidemic, has more than doubled since April, requiring a rapid ramp-up in specialized care in the region.
UN expert calls for action over French nationals facing Iraq terror charges
A UN independent human rights expert has called on France to press for the return of seven of its citizens who are awaiting execution for terrorist offences in Iraq.
In a statement, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, said that there were “serious allegations that the sentences were handed down following unfair trials”.
The accused terrorists had “no adequate legal representation” or effective help from the French Government, she added, and Iraq had no standing under international law, to impose the death penalty.
Ms. Callamard said it was disturbing that France may have had a role in transferring the men to Iraq, after they had been arrested by the Syrian Democratic Forces.
She called on all countries whose citizens were facing terrorist charges in Iraq, to allow them to face justice at home, “in a manner consistent with international law.”
Allow more than 500 rescued passengers to disembark, urges UNHCR
More than 500 passengers recently rescued in the central Mediterranean, many survivors of “appalling abuses” in Libya, should be allowed to disembark by the European Union, said the UN refugee agency on Tuesday.
UNHCR Special Envoy for the region, Vincent Cochetel, said that it was a “race against time” to allow the stranded migrants and refugees off the two rescue boats, before weather conditions get worse.
He said that to leave them on the high seas in stormy weather “would be to inflict suffering on suffering”, urging that a safe port should be designated immediately “and responsibility shared amongst the States for hosting them”.
There was shock expressed last month across Europe when more than 50 died in Libya, following an airstrike on a detention centre, and as many as 150 died in the largest Mediterranean shipwreck of the year.
UNHCR said that those sentiments should now be “translated into meaningful solidarity with people fleeing Libya”.
Matt Wells, UN News.