This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Sudan alert: flooding and inflation deepen humanitarian needs
Catastrophic flooding and rising food and health costs in Sudan have driven up the number of people in need, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Friday.
Authorities declared a three-month state of emergency in early September after the worst flooding in 30 years.
To date, more than 860,000 people have had houses destroyed or damaged and more than 120 have died.
Hundreds of schools and thousands of health facilities have also been affected, especially in North Darfur, Khartoum, West Darfur and Sennar.
The response by UN agencies and partners has reached more than 400,000 people so far, with shelter and essential items for more than 180,000 flood-affected refugees and around 1.9 million internally displaced people and communities.
Amid growing needs, surging inflation – reaching nearly 170 per cent in August - has caused a shortage of basic commodities and increased prices of some locally sourced supplies by up to 400 per cent.
Here’s OCHA spokesperson Jens Laerke: “In some cases, by the time the procurement process is finalized, the supplies have increased prices, so that the original budgets are no longer valid…there is no guarantee that by the time that that process is done, that the prices will not have not risen once again”.
Iraq urged to investigate attacks on women human rights defenders – UN Special Procedures
UN-appointed independent rights experts have urged the Iraqi authorities to investigate the murder of a female human rights defender, and the attempted killing of another, targeted “simply because they are women”.
In a joint appeal on Friday, the seven experts also called on Baghdad to ensure that it was safe for everyone who stood up for people’s rights in the country.
The development follows the deadly shooting in August of Dr. Riham Yaqoub and the attempted assassination of Lodya Remon Albarti, in Basra.
Both rights defenders had led women’s marches within the protest movement against corruption and unemployment that began in 2018 in the southern city.
“Women are a leading force in the human rights community but – as in many countries – they face additional threats simply because they are women,” the experts said in a statement.
They added that amid war and insecurity, “women human rights defenders faced “prejudice, exclusion by society and by political leaders, as well as physical attacks, sexual violence, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, torture and even death”.
They said that it was an outrage “that women in Iraq have to risk or lose their life to defend human rights”, while also calling for an end to the state of impunity “that allows these crimes to continue”.
Central Mediterranean migrant ‘horrors’ must be addressed by States: OHCHR
The UN human rights office OHCHR, has called for urgent action to address the “unimaginable horrors” faced by migrants attempting to cross the central Mediterranean Sea in search of safety in Europe.
The appeal for EU states to adopt a principled approach to migration also calls on them to tackle the shocking conditions that migrants face in Libya, at sea, and when they finally reach Europe.
OHCHR highlighted what it called a “cycle of violence” whereby people faced deprivation and abuse in Libya only to be left to drift “for days at sea”.
Often, their boats were intercepted dangerously by the authorities and returned to Libya, the UN rights office said in a statement, noting that migrants then faced arbitrary detention, torture and other serious human rights violations.
The situation has become even more acute amid the COVID-19 pandemic, OHCHR continued, as humanitarian search and rescue vessels have been prevented from heading out to sea, while there is also a lack of access by civil society groups that help migrants.
The call follows a week-long UN rights mission to Malta which engaged with Government officials, UN partners, migrant community leaders, civil society organisations and 76 migrants from 25 different countries.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.