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News in Brief 18 November 2020

News in Brief 18 November 2020

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations. 

Cold chain Ebola vaccine expertise will help Africa beat COVID: WHO 

The latest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been declared over, nearly six months after the first cases of infection were reported in northwestern Equateur Province.  

Key to this success was the vaccination of more than 40,000 people at high risk of falling sick from the frequently fatal haemorrhagic disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday. 

The UN agency added that the lessons learned from having to keep the anti-viral drug at super-cold temperatures would “be helpful” in bringing a COVID-19 vaccine to Africa, since one of the coronavirus vaccine candidates that has completed testing, requires similar deep-freeze handling to keep it from spoiling. 

The DRC’s 11th recorded Ebola episode - which was first declared in the Mbandaka area of Equateur province in June – claimed 55 lives.  

The WHO also hailed government and local partners who overcame significant logistical challenges in tracking cases of infection and providing treatment to communities scattered across dense rain forests as well as crowded urban areas. 

“This great achievement shows that together we can overcome any health challenge”, said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), in a tweet. 

Ethiopians affected by Tigray crisis need access to clean water, food: UN 

To Ethiopia now, and the fighting in Tigray, where aid agencies have warned about interruptions to people’s basic needs including health care, clean water and food. 

The development follows an alert from the UN refugee agency - UNHCR - that a “full-scale humanitarian crisis” is unfolding in the northern region as refugees flee to Sudan. 

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA, meanwhile, reported that the impact of the ongoing conflict between federal and Tigray regional forces is increasing. 

Phone lines and the internet remain cut in Tigray, it said, while UNHCR Ethiopia cautioned against “fake news” and “erroneous reporting” about the refugee situation and aid operation in Tigray, mainly on social media. 
In its latest statement it cited untrue posts that staff had been arrested and vehicles confiscated in Tigray. “These are false,” UNHCR said, before urging those using online platforms “to share information responsibly and from corroborated sources only”. 

To help those in need, humanitarian partners have finalized a plan to target nearly two million people with multisector assistance in Tigray, Afar and Amhara regions.  

Iraq urged to halt new executions of terror suspects, compounding injustice: Bachelet 

To Iraq finally where UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet has urged the authorities to halt any further executions of terrorism suspects, after the reported killing of 21 men on Monday. 

In a statement, the High Commissioner for Human Rights said that she was deeply concerned about the fate of several hundred prisoners held on terror-related charges.  

She said that the people of Iraq - including victims of serious violations and abuses - deserve justice, but that “these executions may have the effect of compounding injustice”. 

Her appeal comes after her Office received credible and “deeply troubling reports” of the executions in Nasiriyah Central Prison, also known as Al Hoot, in southern Iraq. 

The administration of justice in terrorism-related cases in Iraq frequently violated the right to a fair trial, Ms. Bachelet said. 
She also highlighted “ineffective legal representation” for defendants, an “overreliance on confessions and frequent allegations of torture or ill-treatment”.  

Daniel Johnson, UN News.  MW 



  • Cold chain Ebola vaccine expertise will help Africa beat COVID: WHO 

  • Ethiopians affected by Tigray crisis need access to clean water, food: UN 

  • Iraq urged to halt new executions of terror suspects, compounding injustice: Bachelet

Audio Credit
Daniel Johnson, UN News - Geneva
Audio Duration
Photo Credit
© UNICEF/Jean-Claude Wenga