This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
DR Congo celebrates end of deadly Ebola outbreak in east
The massive Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo is finally over, the World Health Organization (WHO), confirmed on Thursday.
Announcing the news, the UN agency’s Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, paid tribute to the 16,000 frontline responders and community contact tracers who helped to end the near two-year long epidemic.
Dr Moeti also remembered the health workers who had died since the haemorrhagic fever erupted in North Kivu and Ituri provinces in August 2018, claiming more than 2,200 lives.
“At times it seemed like a mission impossible”, she told journalists, before declaring the end of the outbreak “a sign of hope for the region and for the world”.
With solidarity and science, courage and commitment, even the most challenging epidemics can be controlled, she insisted, her comments coming as health authorities confront a new Ebola outbreak in DRC’s Equateur province, on the other side of the vast country.
Guterres urges Israel to reconsider annexation of West Bank
UN chief António Guterres has urged the Israeli authorities to step back from the pledge to annex part of the Occupied Palestinian Territories imminently.
In a live video address to the Security Council, the Secretary-General said that the situation was a “watershed moment” that was contrary to the goal of a two-State solution.
“If implemented, annexation would constitute a most serious violation of international law, grievously harm the prospect of a two-State solution and undercut the possibilities of a renewal of negotiations. I call on the Israeli Government to abandon its annexation plans.”
The Israeli proposal would affect roughly 30 per cent of the West Bank, covering most of the Jordan Valley and hundreds of illegal Israeli settlements.
In his address to the Council session on Wednesday, UN envoy for the Middle East, Nikolay Mladenov, said that decades of peace efforts could be at stake.
He urged the international community to get both the Israelis and Palestinians to start talking again.
“Twenty-seven years ago Israeli and Palestinian leaders agreed to resolve the conflict through negotiations - without taking unilateral action,” Mr. Mladenov said, adding that today, both sides were further than ever from this goal.
Digital tools being used to track people as never before, warns UN rights chief
The internet and new digital tools are being manipulated as never before to infringe on people’s right to free assembly, the UN’s top rights official said on Thursday.
In a call for a moratorium on the use of facial recognition technology during peaceful demonstrations, High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet also expressed concern about the use of non-lethal weapons by authorities.
These devices include pepper ball launchers, acoustic weapons and drones and other “autonomous systems” that release tear gas, Ms. Bachelet’s Office, OHCHR, said in a report, mandated by the UN Human Rights Council.
According to OHCHR’s Peggy Hicks, Director of Thematic Engagement,
more States are using facial recognition technology to identify protesters, even though it is “prone to errors”:
“That means in this context that misidentification could lead to wrongful arrest for example, or prosecution. These risks we know are substantially greater for women and people of colour, raising the likelihood that facial recognition technology may perpetuate and amplify discrimination.”
Peggy Hicks from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights there.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.