This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Fresh evidence of war crimes committed by all sides in Syrian conflict
Hospitals, schools and homes - all targets in Syria’s conflict uncovered by UN-appointed investigators, who on Tuesday condemned likely fresh war crimes by all parties in the country’s long-running conflict.
In its latest report, the Commission of Inquiry on Syria highlighted “likely” war crimes by both pro-Government forces and UN-designated terrorists, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), in the northwest of the country.
Commission Chair Paulo Pinheiro said that it was “completely abhorrent that, after more than nine years, civilians were attacked” while going about their daily lives:
“All sides likely committed war crimes. Children were shelled at school, parents were shelled at the market, patients were shelled at the hospital, entire families were bombarded even while fleeing these attacks. Terrorists and armed groups launched indiscriminate attacks on civilians in Government-controlled areas.”
Thousands continue to flee DR Congo violence seeking shelter in Uganda
Uganda has opened its borders to thousands of people fleeing murderous attacks in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, said on Tuesday.
More than 3,000 refugees crossed last week during a temporary opening of two border crossing points in north-western Uganda, part of a larger group of around 45,000 people who fled attacks in Ituri province in May.
The development comes amid intensifying violence attributed to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in the last 18 months, particularly in Ituri, as well as deadly intercommunal violence involving Hema and Lendu people and the CODECO group.
Here’s UNHCR spokesperson Charlie Yaxley:
“Some of the refugees shared heart-wrenching accounts of militia attacks on their villages (with) our staff. Many of them told us that they were separated from their families and had little time to pack any belongings or look for family members before fleeing. Very few were able to carry personal items and most fled barefoot with only the clothes they were wearing.”
Mr Yaxley noted that 65 per cent of the new arrivals in Uganda were children, along with 33 pregnant women, two of whom were immediately taken to a health centre last week to give birth.
They had been unable to cross for more than a month, owing to border closures on the Uganda side to contain the spread of COVID-19.
To date, Ugandan authorities have conducted new coronavirus testing “with the first 570 samples returning negative”, UNHCR said.
The agency welcomed Uganda’s decision to allow the group of refugees to enter the country and said that it demonstrated how quarantines, health screenings and other measures, allowed States to uphold their obligations under international law during the pandemic.
Rights expert speaks of ‘anguish, stress and disempowerment’ of poverty
More than 70 million people are expected to fall into extreme poverty because of COVID-19, the UN Human Rights Council heard on Tuesday, as a leading rights expert slammed “greatly exaggerated” claims of global poverty eradication between 1990 and 2015.
UN-appointed independent Special Rapporteur, Olivier de Schutter, insisted without China’s “outsized contribution” in lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty in that time, global progress in reversing the scourge suddenly appeared far less impressive.
According to the World Bank’s international poverty line (IPL) – which is $1.90 - the number of people in extreme poverty fell from 1.895 billion in 1990 to 736 million in 2015.
But this includes the 750 million people in China living below the poverty line in 1990 who numbered just 10 million in 2015, the Special Rapporteur explained, before questioning the “very weak” and “unsatisfactory” World Bank measure of poverty.
“Leaving out China, the number of people living below the $2.50 USD per day would barely have changed throughout this period, and it would have increased by 140 million people in Sub-Saharan African and the Middle East,” Mr de Schutter said.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.