This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Independent UN rights experts call for investigation into alleged Saudi hacking
Independent UN human rights experts on Wednesday called for an immediate investigation into allegations that digital spyware was used in 2018 on a phone belonging to the chief executive of Amazon, via a WhatsApp account belonging to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.
Rights experts Agnes Callamard and David Kaye, said in a statement that “information we have received suggests the possible involvement of the Crown Prince in surveillance” of Amazon chief, Jeff Bezos, “in an effort to influence, if not silence, the Washington Post’s reporting on Saudi Arabia.”
Mr. Bezos owns the Washington Post, which at the time of the alleged hacking, employed the prominent Saudi columnist, Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, in October 2018.
The independent Special Rapporteurs said that according to forensic analysis, following the alleged hacking, the Crown Prince sent WhatsApp messages to Mr. Bezos “in which he allegedly revealed private and confidential information about Mr. Bezos’s personal life that was not available from public sources.”
The Saudi Embassy in Washington has described the media reports of alleged Saudi involvement in the hacking, as “absurd”.
UN chief welcomes formation of new Lebanese Government
The UN Secretary-General has welcomed the announcement late on Tuesday that following months of deadlock, Lebanon has formed a new government.
After the resignation of the former Prime Minister last October, his successor, Hassan Diab, was selected last month but amidst rising anti-government protests, politicians were unable to agree the makeup of a new cabinet.
Following the announcement that a Council of Ministers is now in place, António Guterres said he was looking forward to working with the new leadership, in support of a new “reform agenda and to address the pressing needs” of Lebanon’s people.
More than 460 were injured in Beirut over the weekend as protests turned violent.
“The Secretary-General reiterates the United Nations commitment to support Lebanon’s strengthening of its sovereignty, stability and political independence”, said the statement issued by his Spokesperson.
Somalia: Humanitarian response plan calls for $1 billion in aid
Somalia’s federal authorities and international partners on Wednesday, launched a Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) requiring more than a $1 billion to provide much-needed aid to some three million Somalis this year.
UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Adam Abdelmoula, said at the launch in the capital, Mogadishu, that the country was suffering through multiple crises, including the recent floods that inundated large areas of the country.
“While most of those who were affected have returned home, many continue to struggle to rebuild their lives” he noted.
Also attending the launch of the 2020 plan, Somalia’s Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Hamza Said Hamza, said the plan demonstrates the commitment of the Government - and coordination partner, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - as well as the international community “to the people of Somalia.”
Matt Wells, UN News.