This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
UN rights office highlights concern at targeted killings during Iraqi protests
Serious concerns about the abduction and killing of Iraqi protesters have been raised by the UN human rights Office, OHCHR.
At least 487 people were killed and more than 7,700 injured during massive protests that took place between October 2019 and April this year.
A majority of the victims were young men, according to a report by the UN rights office and the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).
Based on more than 900 interviews with victims and their relatives, witnesses, journalists, and civic and political activists, it highlights “unnecessary and excessive force, including live ammunition”, when dealing with demonstrations.
The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, said in a statement that the continued targeting and killing of activists and human rights defenders was of great concern.
“This is not random violence but a deliberate silencing of peaceful voices, coupled with the total impunity enjoyed by perpetrators,” she insisted.
According to the UN report, around 3,000 demonstrators were detained, while unidentified armed actors were also involved in abductions.
Although the recently installed Government has taken “welcome steps” to investigate abuses, much more needs to be done, the UN rights office said.
One in three children missed out on remote learning when COVID-19 shuttered schools
At least 463 million children missed out on schooling during COVID-19 lockdowns with no access to remote learning, the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, said on Thursday.
Describing the finding as a global emergency, UNICEF head Henrietta Fore said the repercussions would be felt in economies and societies “for decades to come”.
Other data from the agency’s report into education gaps during the pandemic’s early months outlined the limitations of learning at home, exposing “deep inequalities” in educational access.
At the height of nationwide and local lockdowns, nearly 1.5 billion schoolchildren were affected by school closures.
Using data from 100 countries, UNICEF researchers found that schoolchildren in sub-Saharan Africa were the worst affected, with one in two unable to attend class remotely.
They also found that the youngest students were most likely to miss out on remote teaching during the critical early years of learning and development.
Togo becomes first African nation to be declared free of sleeping sickness
To Togo finally, which has become the first African country to eliminate “sleeping sickness”, a disease which threatens millions of people on the continent.
Announcing the milestone, the World Health Organization (WHO) attributed it to more than two decades of sustained political commitment, surveillance and screening of cases.
Sleeping sickness - known officially as trypanosomiasis - is caused by parasites which are transmitted by infected tsetse flies; there are two types of the disease and these are found in 36 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, in total.
If left untreated, the disease is almost always fatal.
In 1995, about 25,000 cases were detected and 60 million people were estimated to be at risk. Fast forward 24 years and in 2019, fewer than 1,000 cases were found.
Beginning in the year 2000, Togo’s public health officials implemented control measures.
These included setting up surveillance sites at hospitals in the cities of Mango and Tchamba, the main areas where the disease was present.
WHO and global partners supported these efforts by facilitating the donation of medicines and resources from pharmaceutical companies; this helped strengthen Togo’s capacity to tackle the disease by ensuring the sustained availability of the tools required to do so.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.