This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
UN Migration Agency appeals to South Sudan group to free volunteer worker and child
The UN migration agency, IOM, appealed on Friday for the immediate liberation of a volunteer and child who’ve been missing since a gun battle in South Sudan at the weekend, that claimed the lives of three agency workers.
According to IOM, they were caught in the crossfire between two armed groups in Isebi, Morobo County, in South Sudan’s Central Equatoria region.
The volunteers had been manning an Ebola virus screening point in border areas between South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo to prevent the spread of the deadly disease.
It is understood that the four-year-old child is the son of a female IOM worker who was killed, along with two male team members.
IOM spokesperson Paul Dillon said that “all possible action” was being taken to secure the release of the two individuals immediately, and that operations had been suspended for the time being in several border areas.
“Obviously, we are there for a reason, to monitor possible flows of Ebola into South Sudan. These individuals in South Sudan as in many other countries are very much on the front line in this response. We have suspended our operations in five of those border areas until we can get clarity on the security situation and the commitment from all actors in that area that the security of our staff in that area will be safeguarded.”
IOM has operated in the south of what was then Sudan, prior to the South’s independence, since 2005 and has provided support to thousands of host communities, returnees and internally displaced people since the outbreak of civil war in December 2013.
‘All actors’ must lend support as humanitarian crisis continues in Haiti: UN rights chief
To Haiti now, where UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet has expressed deep concern about ongoing political unrest, after dozens of people died in protests.
Haitians have taken to the streets repeatedly in the past 16 months, protesting against corruption, inequality and economic hardship.
Since the latest demonstrations on 15 September, 42 people have died – including a journalist - and 86 have been injured in escalated tensions, the High Commissioner said in a statement.
Most victims suffered gunshot wounds and 19 deaths were allegedly linked to security forces.
In addition to concerns about the violence, Ms. Bachelet also warned about the impact on people’s basic rights to healthcare, food and education.
Her comments come amid an ongoing political crisis linked to the struggle between President Jovenel Moïse and an opposition movement, soaring inflation and crumbling healthcare facilities.
The turmoil has also prompted the closure of judicial institutions and other public entities, resulting in an “alarmingly high number” of inmates stuck in prolonged pre-trial detention.
Independent UN expert on torture sounds alarm over Julian Assange’s life
And finally, to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, whose life is said to be “at risk” in the high-security UK prison where he was sent earlier this year, amid concerns about his poor health.
The warning, from UN-appointed independent Special Rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, comes as Mr. Assange continues to be held in connection with a US extradition request – he faces espionage charges for having exposed evidence for alleged US war crimes and other misconduct in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In a statement, Mr. Melzer said that Mr. Assange “continues to be detained under oppressive conditions of isolation and surveillance, not justified by his detention status”.
He added that having completed his prison sentence for violating UK bail terms in 2012, Mr. Assange “was now being held exclusively in relation to the pending extradition request from the United States”.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.