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News in Brief 11 November 2020

News in Brief 11 November 2020

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Brutal attacks in Mozambique’s north must be investigated, says Guterres

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called for an investigation into a weekend-long killing spree in the country’s northern Cabo Delgado province.

In a statement, Mr. Guterres condemned reports of “wanton brutality” following reports of massacres by non-State armed groups in several villages.

In addition to multiple beheadings – which state media said took place at a football ground - women and children were also kidnapped.

The Secretary-General urged the country’s authorities to conduct an investigation and hold those responsible to account.

He also called on all parties to the conflict to abide by their obligations under international law and repeated the UN’s commitment to continue supporting the country’s immediate humanitarian needs, its efforts to uphold human rights, promote development and prevent violent extremism. 

The attacks are the latest violence aimed at civilians in the province which is rich in natural gas and gemstones.

Social media trafficking traps on the rise during COVID-19, warns UN rights panel

Social media platforms should use big data and artificial intelligence to eliminate trafficking in women and girls, a UN rights committee has said.

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in Geneva said on Wednesday that women and girls continue to bear the brunt of the illegal trade.

Its call to social media firms for better controls against traffickers and protection for victims, stems from an increase in the use of online traps during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those behind the trafficking networks enjoy widespread impunity, despite national and international laws and policies designed to tackle the problem, the panel said.

Online, demand has been channelled “through social media, dark web and messaging platforms” which provide easy access to potential victims, but hide the identity of the perpetrators, the committee said.

Among its recommendations, the UN panel urged the online platforms to use their “big data, artificial intelligence and analytics to identify any pattern that could lead to trafficking” and help to identify those involved.

Online firms should also “put in place the appropriate governance structure and procedures which will allow them to be reactive in their response and provide the relevant level of information to the concerned authorities”, the UN panel said.

UN refugee chief urges support for stateless people powerless against COVID

Many millions of people are stateless around the world - an affront to humanity, the head of the UN refugee agency, UNCHR, has said.

In a message calling for an end to statelessness by 2024, Filippo Grandi said that action was needed now more than ever, as the coronavirus crisis has left nationless people around the world without access to jobs or healthcare.


It was in no-one’s interest for people to be left stateless and living on the margins of society, vulnerable to disease, said Mr. Grandi.

He insisted that resolving statelessness came down to political will, and that the “consequences of inaction - especially during the middle of a pandemic - can be life-threatening”.

Displaced Nigerians just want to go home, says Deputy UN chief

UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed has visited communities displaced by violence in northeast Nigeria, as part of a solidarity tour of West Africa and the Sahel, to show support to countries during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ms Mohammed travelled to Borno state in northeastern Nigeria, a region that’s been badly affected by years of conflict, and where communities have been targeted by armed extremists.

In the town of Banki, near Nigeria’s border with Cameroon, she spoke to displaced people sheltering at a protection camp, and Nigerian refugees returning from Cameroon.

The UN deputy chief said that thousands there clearly “want to go home…to resume their livelihoods and get access to basic services.”

Ms. Mohammed also warned that many in the region faced malnutrition linked to food insecurity, in a call for collective action to prevent widespread hunger next year.

Daniel Johnson, UN News.

  • Social media firms urged to help end trafficking amid pandemic 
  • More support needed for stateless, powerless against COVID
  • Brutal Mozambique killings must be investigated: Guterres
  • Deputy UN chief visits displaced in wartorn NE Nigeria
Audio Credit
Daniel Johnson, UN News - Geneva
Photo Credit
© UNICEF/Alessio Romenzi