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News in Brief 28 August 2020

News in Brief 28 August 2020

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations. 

UN rights chief urges DR Congo to protect sexual abuse victims advocate amid death threats 

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has condemned death threats made against Congolese Nobel Prize laureate Dr. Denis Mukwege and called for his protection. 

Dr. Mukwege is best known for helping thousands of women victims of sexual violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, DRC. 

For decades, he has also called for perpetrators to be brought to justice and advocated against the use of rape as a weapon of war. 

He survived an assassination attempt at his home in 2012.  

In Geneva, spokesperson for the UN rights chief, Rupert Colville, said that the recent surge of threats against Dr. Mukwege  had been conveyed via social media and in phone calls to him and his family. 

“The threats appear to be more linked to his advocacy, so you know his very robust positions taken on accountability, on the protection of women, as a result of what he’s seen in decades in hospital. In terms of protection, you know this is a difficult part of the country, it’s a very, very violent region, so that is part of our call to the authorities that they absolutely make sure they do provide really comprehensive physical protection to Dr. Mukwege and to the rest of his team, so that they can continue their vital work on which so many women depend.” 

Mr. Colville explained that the latest threats are likely connected with Dr. Mukwege’s condemnation of violence in the highlands of South Kivu, involving mainly Banyamulenge herders in conflict against the Babembe, Bafuliru, and Banyindu communities.  

New killings after Jacob Blake shooting reveal chronic problems still to be overcome in US – OHCHR 

Disturbing video footage allegedly showing a teenager involved in a deadly shooting in the US state of Wisconsin is evidence that far stricter gun control measures are needed, the UN human rights office, OHCHR, said on Friday. 

According to reports, a 17-year-old male youth has been arrested and charged with killing two people and injuring others in the city of Kenosha, earlier in the week. 

The development follows days of unrest and widespread protests at the police shooting of Jacob Blake last Sunday. 

US authorities said that the father of five was shot seven times in the back, sparking a public outcry. 

In Geneva, OHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville condemned the latest violence as part of a “long-running problem”, that included the killing in police custody of George Floyd earlier this year, “and many others”. 

“We would see this as yet another unfortunate example of insufficient and lax gun control measures in the United States, which is something we have spoken about several times before. It should be inconceivable that you have a 17-year-old running around with an automatic rifle.”  

Despite commitments to reform by police forces following the killing of Mr. Floyd, Mr. Colville maintained that these “clearly haven’t been delivered…and the killings are continuing”.  

Hurricane Laura produced strongest storm in Louisiana since 1856 – WMO 

Finally, Hurricane Laura that lashed the US state of Louisiana this week is likely just a taste of things to come, UN weather experts have said. 

In a warning on Friday, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said that in terms of wind speed, the Category 4 storm was the joint strongest to hit Louisiana since 1856. 

It registered maximum sustained winds of 150 miles per hour, or 241 kilometres per hour and was the seventh named storm to make landfall in the United States this season. 

 WMO spokesperson Clare Nullis said that it was “by far the most intense and dangerous hurricane” of the 2020 season to date.  

Worryingly, she added that this is only the start of what is traditionally the most intense tropical storm period of the season, with experts indicating that about 70 per cent of strong activity is still to come. 

Daniel Johnson, UN News. 

  • UN Human Rights chief appeals for DR Congo "hero" Dr. Denis Mukwege amid surge in death threats
  • New shootings violence in Kenosha, Wisconsin shows need for better gun control, the UN Human Rights office, OHCHR, urges
  • Hurricane Laura just a taste of things to come, warns WMO Spokesperson


Audio Credit
Daniel Johnson, UN News
Audio Duration
Photo Credit
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe