This is the News in Brief, from the United Nations.
UN chief voices ‘serious concern’ over Guinea-Bissau political crisis
The Secretary-General has responded with “serious concern” to developments in Guinea-Bissau, following the firing of the country’s Prime Minister on Monday by President José Mário Vaz, who announced a replacement on Tuesday.
With less than one month to go before the country’s presidential elections, António Guterres called on all political stakeholders to abide by decisions taken by the West African States regional body, ECOWAS, which has sought to find lasting solutions to chronic political instability in Guinea-Bissau since its independence from Portugal in 1974.
Back in 2015, President Vaz exercised his power to dissolve the government then in office, which had won a majority in elections the previous year. Since then, there have been seven different heads of government.
The President’s term in office expired in June, but under terms agreed with ECOWAS, he will retain the presidency until next month’s poll, in the hope of being re-elected.
The UN chief called for a peaceful, credible and transparent process on 24 November, and expressed his condolences for the family of a demonstrator who died during political protests last weekend.
IOM suspends South Sudan Ebola screening, after death of volunteers
The UN migration agency (IOM) on Wednesday condemned “in the strongest possible terms” the killing of three of its aid workers in South Sudan’s Morobo County, who were working as volunteers at Ebola screening points along the country’s border, sparked by the more than year-long outbreak in the Democratic in the Congo, or DRC.
Two male, and one female humanitarian worker, were caught in crossfire during clashes that broke out in the morning hours of 27 October.
The four-year-old son of the murdered female aid worker, and another female volunteer, were also abducted during the attack. Their whereabouts remain unknown.
IOM has since suspended Ebola Virus screening points at five points of entry to the country, namely Isebi, Bazi, Kirikwa, Lasu and Okaba - bordering points between South Sudan and Uganda, and the DRC.
Chief of Mission for IOM in South Sudan, Jean-Phiippe Chauzy said “the safety of our personnel is paramount and will not be further jeopardized until we secure guarantees for the security of all our personnel” adding that no effort will be spared to support the victims’ families.
According to media reports, it is still unclear who is behind the latest fighting.
Negative racial stereotyping of people of African descent has ‘systemic impact’
The same racial stereotyping and negative characterisations of people of African-descent, which were used to justify their enslavement centuries ago, continue to harm people and violate their human rights, a group of independent human rights experts said on Wednesday, presenting a new report to the UN General Assembly.
The ability of people to enjoy basic human rights is being “dramatically curtailed” by racial bias and decisions made on the basis of false beliefs, specifically those targeting people of African descent, Ahmed Reid, who heads up the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, said.
Highlighting the “systematic impact” of this bias, the experts explained people face similar challenges in different countries.
Further, their report analyses how people are perceived, and misrepresented, and underscores the link between incitement to hate, and hate crimes - from stereotyping in communication, including advertising.
Member States “should take resolute action” to counter tendencies by heads of State, educators or enforcement officials to target, profile or stigmatise people of African descent,” the working group Chair urged.
Natalie Hutchison, UN News.