This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Hundreds of thousands of civilians at risk in Syria amid ongoing violence
Almost daily violence in built-up areas and against health facilities in Syria continues to threaten the lives of civilians there, the UN rights office and humanitarians said on Friday.
At least 92 people have been killed in northeastern and northwestern Syria in the weeks following 9 October, when Turkish forces invaded Kurdish-held border areas in the northeast, according to the UN human rights office (OHCHR).
Spokesperson Rupert Colville told journalists that victims had come under fire from airstrikes and ground based strikes – and they’re increasingly targeted by improvised explosive devices used indiscriminately.
In addition, dozens of health centres have come under fire, he said.
“We can’t determine if every single attack is deliberate, but the large scale of these attacks – as I say, 61 separate facilities, considerably more actual strikes hitting those facilities, given some of them were hit two, three, four times, and the fact that it’s happening every time there’s a military escalation strongly suggests that Government-affiliated forces are conducting these strikes are at least partly if not always deliberately striking health facilities . But I think we’ll have to…and of course, that would amount to a war crime.”
The development comes as the UN Special Envoy for Syria announced that Syrian-led talks on a foundational text for the war-torn country will resume in Geneva on Monday 25 November.
Egypt: ‘Credible evidence’ that ‘brutal’ prison conditions prompted Morsi’s death, thousands more at risk
A group of independent UN human rights experts said on Friday that there was “credible evidence” that inadequate prison conditions in which former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was held may have led “directly” to his death in June, and thousands of other detainees may be at “severe risk”.
“Dr. Morsi was held in conditions that can only be described as brutal, particularly during his five-year detentions in the Tora prison complex,” said Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, together with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and his death after enduring t hose conditions “could amount to a State-sanctioned arbitrary killing”, they added in a press release.
The late Egyptian leader was placed in solitary confinement for 23 hours of each day, the experts explained. While serving six years of jail time on charges of alleged terrorism, spying and escape from prison, “he was not allowed to see other prisoners, even during the one hour a day he was permitted to exercise.”
He was also denied life-saving medication for his diabetes and high blood pressure conditions while incarcerated, and despite informing authorities that such conditions would undermine Mr. Morsi’s health to the point of death, “there is no evidence they acted to address the concerns” they said.
Mr. Morsi’s former affairs adviser and the adviser's son are among the thousands of other prisoners enduring similar conditions. The experts said the two men “are effectively being killed by the conditions under which they are held and the denial of medical treatment.”
60,000 young refugees and migrants who arrived in Italy alone lack support
United Nations agencies on Friday highlighted the dire needs of thousands of unaccompanied and separated children who have arrived in Italy as refugees, lacking the proper support to transition through to adulthood.
Between 2014 and 2018, around 60,000 of them arrived in Italy by sea, 90 per cent of whom were between the ages of 15 and 17, according to a new report issued by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The report, At the crossroad: Unaccompanied and separated children in the transition to adulthood in Italy, highlights the ‘triple transition’ young refugees and migrants face when they turn 18 - from living in one country then another, and through the pain and trauma experienced when leaving home and embarking on dangerous journeys.
“Recognizing the complex nature of the children-adult distinction and acknowledging that persons coming of age have specific needs lies at the heart of this research”, Roland Schilling, UNHCR Representative for Southern Europe, said in a joint statement.
Natalie Hutchison, UN News.