This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
UN chief alarmed over violent escalation in Sudan’s Darfur region
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that he’s “deeply concerned” about increasing violence in many parts of Sudan’s Darfur region.
His statement follows a series of attacks there, notably in West and North Darfur earlier this month.
These incidents have left dozens of people dead, more than 1,500 houses burned, thousands displaced and left in dire need of humanitarian assistance.
In an attack on the village of Masteri on Saturday, south of Geneina, the capital of West Darfur province, some 500 armed men were reportedly involved.
Condemning the violence and noting that deliberate attacks against civilians violated international law, Mr. Guterres commended efforts by the Sudanese authorities in responding to the incidents.
He urged all armed groups to resolve their grievances through dialogue, “particularly those that have not joined ongoing peace talks” in the capital, Juba.
Conflict in Darfur dates back to 2003 between Government forces, their militiamen and ethnic minority opposition groups.
The UN estimated that around 300,000 were killed and around 2.7 million forced from their homes.
In 2005, the UN Security Council referred the situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court, after allegations of genocide there.
Ravages of acute hunger will likely hit six in 10 in Zimbabwe: WFP
WFP urgently seeks international support to prevent millions of Zimbabweans plunging deeper into hunger.
The COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated an already severe hunger crisis in Zimbabwe, the World Food Programme (WFP) warned on Thursday.
In an appeal for an additional $250 million to support emergency relief for millions of vulnerable people, WFP said that by the end of the year, the number of food-insecure people in the southern African nation is expected to surge by almost 50 per cent, to 8.6 million.
That amounts to 60 per cent of the entire population, the agency said in a statement, blaming drought, economic recession and the coronavirus pandemic as reasons for the crisis.
Galloping hyperinflation has meant that few families can now afford even basic food, WFP said, with the price of maize, the staple cereal, more than doubling in June.
Lola Castro, WFP’s Regional Director for Southern Africa, said that many Zimbabwean families were suffering “the ravages of acute hunger”, before appealing to the international community to help prevent “a potential humanitarian catastrophe.”
Roma still victims of hate crimes, decades after mass killings, says UN expert
Roma people face intimidation, aggression and violence, all of which have been on the rise in recent years, a senior UN-appointed independent rights expert said on Thursday.
In an appeal for States to take bold measures to protect the Roma, UN Special Rapporteur Fernand de Varennes warned that “hatred, exclusion and vilification” have resurfaced during the COVID-19 crisis.
Citing “false rumours” against Roma minorities, Mr Varennes said that they faced scapegoating and hate speech on social media platforms.
This “dehumanisation and denigration” of the Roma has led to atrocities in the past that must not be perpetuated today in different guises, he said in a statement, his comments coming ahead of Roma Holocaust Remembrance Day on 2 August.
The date marks the Nazis’ extermination of their last Roma prisoners, almost 80 years ago.
Nearly 3,000 Roma children, women and men perished in the gas chambers of Auschwitz II-Birkenau concentration camp.
It is estimated that Nazi forces and their allies killed around 25 per cent of all European Roma, possibly 200,000 to 500,000 people.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.