This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Top UN officials saddened by violent mob protests inside US Capitol
Top UN officials - including the Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly - have expressed sadness over the violent scenes on Wednesday involving supporters of President Trump who stormed the US Capitol building.
The arrival of the demonstrators temporarily brought a halt to the scheduled confirmation of November’s presidential election result.
“The Secretary-General is saddened by the events,” a spokesperson for António Guterres said, in response to questions from correspondents, adding that “in such circumstances, it is important that political leaders impress on their followers the need to refrain from violence, as well as to respect democratic processes and the rule of law”.
Volkan Bozkir, President of the UN General Assembly also voiced his dismay at the scenes on Capitol Hill.
In a tweet, Mr. Bozkir, said that the “US is one of the world’s major democracies” and that he believed that “peace and respect for democratic processes will prevail in our host country at this critical time”.
Earlier in the day, several thousand protesters marched on the US Capitol in Washington DC, the heart of American democracy and home to the House of Representatives and the Senate, after President Trump and his supporters repeated false claims of election rigging.
Hong Kong: UN human rights office urges immediate release of activists
More than 50 individuals arrested under Hong Kong’s new national security law should be released immediately, the UN human rights office (OHCHR) said on Thursday.
Fifty-three political activists, academics, former legislators, current district councillors and lawyers, were arrested on Wednesday, OHCHR said.
Spokesperson Liz Throssell, noted that the arrests were the latest in a series of detentions over the exercise of fundamental freedoms, including the right to peaceful assembly, in Hong Kong.
“These latest arrests indicate that – as had been feared – the offence of subversion under the National Security Law is indeed being used to detain individuals for exercising legitimate rights to participate in political and public life”, she said.
Ms. Throssell stressed that exercise of the right to take part in public affairs is a fundamental right protected by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which is incorporated into Hong Kong’s Basic Law.
The UN rights office and independent experts have repeatedly warned that offences such as subversion under the National Security Law, which was passed in June 2020, are vaguely defined and facilitate abusive or arbitrary implementation.
Guterres ‘shocked’ at massacre of civilians in eastern DR Congo
The massacre of civilians in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been condemned strongly by the UN Secretary-General, who has called for justice for the victims and their families.
At least 25 villagers were reported killed by Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militia in the villages of Tingwe, Mwenda and Nzenga, near Beni territory, in North Kivu Province, on Monday.
It was reportedly the second mass killing in a week in eastern DRC, where dozens of armed groups continue to roam the vast and resource-rich region.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, António Guterres reiterated his call for a global ceasefire and urged all armed groups to lay down their weapons.
He also stressed the determination of the UN peacekeeping mission in the country, MONUSCO, to protect civilians and support efforts to consolidate peace and stability in the country.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.