This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Reported Ethiopia massacre: UN rights chief warns of spiralling situation
Amid reports of mass killings in the Ethiopian town of Mai-Kadra, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has expressed increasing alarm at the rapidly deteriorating situation in the Tigray region.
She warned that if the Tigray regional forces and Ethiopian Government forces continued fighting, “there is a risk (that) this situation will spiral totally out of control”.
This could leading to heavy casualties and destruction, as well as mass displacement within Ethiopia itself and across borders, Ms. Bachelet said.
While the details of the alleged mass killings reported by Amnesty International in Mai-Kadra in south-west Tigray have not yet been fully verified, the High Commissioner called for a full inquiry.
Here’s her Spokesperson, Rupert Colville:
“If confirmed as having been deliberately carried out by a party to the current fighting, these killings of civilians would of course amount to war crimes.”
Aid response ramps up for hurricane Eta victims in Central America
To Central America and the Caribbean now, where millions of people need emergency food assistance in the wake of Hurricane Eta, one of the worst storms in decades.
Raising the alarm after widespread flooding, the UN World Food Programme, WFP, said that there are fears that another storm may hit in the coming days.
Eta made landfall in Nicaragua on 3 November and moved towards Honduras and Guatemala causing devastation that included dozens of deadly landslides.
According to UN partner the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico have all been significantly affected too.
Thousands have been evacuated from their homes but humanitarians have warned that Eta “arrived at the worst time” for millions of people already hard hit by years of drought and failed crops and the socio-economic crisis caused by COVID-19.
Miguel Barreto, World Food Programme Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, also expressed concern that more heavy rain and flooding might destroy the upcoming harvest subsistence farmers depend on to survive.
WFP predicts the number of people with severe food insecurity in the region could increase from more than 1.6 million in 2019 to close to three million in 2020.
Mozambique Cabo Delgado situation is ‘desperate’, warns Bachelet
To Mozambique, finally, where there’s increasing concern about worsening violence and gruesome human rights abuses in Cabo Delgado province, in the north of the country.
On Friday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet described the situation as “desperate”.
Her Office warned that civilians - and especially women and children – have endured dreadful human rights violations that include attacks and kidnapping by armed groups, who have clashed with government forces.
There are additional concerns about Cabo Delgado as it is among the areas that have been worst affected by COVID-19.
Since 2017, at least 355,000 people have fled the province, and violence has increased in the last two weeks.
In an appeal, Ms. Bachelet urged all armed actors to take measures to protect civilians, warning that thousands of people are believed to be trapped in conflict areas, with many “hiding in the bush” for days.
“The situation is desperate both for those trapped in conflict-affected areas, with barely any means of surviving, and for those displaced across the province and beyond”, the UN rights chief said.
Those who remain lack basic necessities “and are at risk of being killed, sexually abused, kidnapped, or forcibly recruited by armed groups” Michelle Bachelet continued.
In the last month, more than 14,300 displaced people have arrived in the provincial capital Pemba. UN refugee agency UNHCR, reported that hundreds are living on the beach without drinking water and in dirty, overcrowded conditions.
To help meet people’s “most basic” requirements”, the agency has appealed for $19.2 million.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.