This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
DR Congo killings ‘may amount to crimes against humanity’
The targeting of the Hema community with violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, DRC, including killings and rape, may amount to crimes against humanity, the UN said on Friday.
An investigation carried out by the UN Joint Human Rights Office in the DRC, found that between December 2017 and September last year, at least 701 people had been killed and 168 injured following attacks involving the Hema and Lendu communities in the country’s northeast.
“In addition, at least 142 people have been subjected to acts of sexual violence” the report said, “most of them members of the Hema community.”
Since September 2018, Lendu armed groups have been increasingly organized in carrying out attacks against the Hema and members of other ethnic groups, such as the Alur, according to the investigators.
Among their objectives, the Lendu aim to take control of Hema communities’ land and associated resources, added the investigators.
The report documents numerous cases of women being raped, of children – some in school uniforms – being killed, and of looting and burning of villages.
A victory for forced displacement victims in El Salvador: UN refugee agency
Turning now to El Salvador, a new law in the Central American country opens a door for tens of thousands of forced displacement victims to access life-saving humanitarian assistance and have their basic rights restored, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Friday.
The legislation, which was passed by a resounding majority in El Salvador’s National Assembly on 9 January, also protects, aids and offers solutions to people who may be either at risk or have already been internally displaced from violence, mainly due to organized crime gangs.
And for the first time ever, the law also provides for the establishment of a comprehensive national system of State institutions to prevent and respond to forced displacement.
UNHCR spokesperson, Liz Throssell, told reporters in Geneva the new law was a big step forward:
“The law can have a lasting positive impact on the lives of the 71,500 Salvadorans who are estimated to have been forcibly displaced between 2006 and 2016 within their country’s borders, as well as tens of thousands more who are at risk of being forced to flee their homes”.
UNHCR honoured with Olympic Cup
And staying with UNHCR, the organization’s been awarded the Olympic Cup for its work supporting refugees and their host communities through sport, as well as for promoting the values of the Olympic movement all over the world.
The Olympic Cup was established in 1906 by the IOC founder and father of the modern Olympic movement.
Since that time, it has been awarded every year to an organization that has “rendered distinguished service to sport or contributed successfully to the promotion of the Olympic idea”.
In accepting the award, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, shared the honour with all of his colleagues around the world “who have gone above and beyond to bring opportunities to displaced people through sport, even in the most challenging circumstances.
“And, of course”, he said, “it is a tribute to the displaced people and communities that UNHCR serves, who understand the transformative power of sport and have seized the opportunities that have been offered to them.”
Liz Scaffidi, UN News.