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News in Brief 18 December 2020

News in Brief 18 December 2020

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations. 

$254 million appeal launched for Mozambicans fleeing violent extremists in north  

In northern Mozambique, attacks by violent extremists have created a mass displacement emergency which has left 1.1 million people in need of assistance and protection. 

In an appeal for $254 million, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) detailed rising violence, conflict and insecurity in Cabo Delgado and neighbouring provinces this year. 

Spokesperson Jens Laerke said that attacks and fighting have forced tens of thousands of people from their homes every month.  

Nearly 530,000 are now internally displaced in Cabo Delgado, Nampula and Niassa, almost five times the number registered in March 2020. 

Here’s Jens Laerke now: 

“People fleeing violence in Cabo Delgado have been exposed to severe violations and abuses and we are especially concerned for the plight of children and women. Women and girls are at risk of abduction, gender-based violence and exploitation, while boys are at risk of being killed or recruited by armed groups.” 

There is deep concern for civilians who remain cut off in areas isolated by violence, and humanitarians are worried that many place hosting displaced people will flood in the upcoming rainy season.  

Together with the local authorities, the UN and partners are working to set up new settlement areas where conditions are suitable for the displaced to shelter. 

Vulnerable migrants still dying in their thousands on perilous journeys 

Tens of thousands of desperate migrants continue to embark on dangerous journeys across the world’s deserts, jungles and seas, and thousands are dying along the way. 

That’s the stark message from UN migration agency IOM, which said on Friday - International Migrants Day - that it had recorded 3,174 deaths worldwide on the routes that vulnerable people take. 

Although this number represents a significant drop in deaths compared with previous years - likely linked to more than 90,000 COVID-19-restrictions around the world - some routes saw an increase in fatalities, IOM said. 

This includes the 593 people who have died en route to Spain’s Canary Islands so far in 2020, compared with 210 in 2019, and 45 in 2018. 

At least 1,773 migrants died within and en route to Europe this year, making up the majority of fatalities recorded worldwide. 

On the United States-Mexico border, 381 men, women and children also lost their lives, according to IOM’s Missing Migrants Project.  

UN rights office warns over arrest of demonstrators in Thailand on treason laws 

In Thailand, the arrest of demonstrators under treason laws is deeply troubling, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, OHCHRsaid on Friday. 

The announcement comes after the authorities charged dozens of activists in past weeks, OHCHR said, including a teenage protester. 

Spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said that they could face prison sentences of between three and 15 years:  

Cut: “We are deeply troubled by the move by Thai authorities to charge at least 35 activists over the past few weeks, including a 16-year old student activist, under Article 112 – the lese-majeste provision of Thailand’s criminal code. The offence carries sentences of between three and 15 years’ imprisonment for defaming, insulting or threatening the country’s royal family. We are particularly alarmed that the 16-year-old activist was presented by the police to the Juvenile Court with a request for a detention order.” 

Ms. Shamdasani noted that numerous UN human rights mechanisms had “repeatedly” called on Thailand to bring its treason law in line with the country’s international obligations concerning freedom of expression, as stipulated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  

“It is extremely disappointing that after a period of two years without any cases, we are suddenly witnessing a large number of cases, and – shockingly – now also against a minor”, the UN human rights office spokesperson said. 

Daniel Johnson, UN News.

  • $254 million appeal launched for Mozambicans fleeing violent extremists in north 

  • Vulnerable migrants still dying in their thousands on perilous journeys 

  • UN rights office warns over arrest of demonstrators in Thailand on treason laws 


Audio Credit
Daniel Johnson, UN News - Geneva
Audio Duration
Photo Credit
IOM/Matteo Theubet