This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Central African Republic crisis forces 200,000 from homes in under two months
Violence and insecurity in the Central African Republic (CAR) linked to recent nationwide elections have forced more than 200,000 people from their homes in under two months.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, also warned that tens of thousands face dire living conditions.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo has taken in tens of thousands of refugees, while more than 13,000 have reached Cameroon, Chad, and the Republic of Congo, said UNHCR spokesperson Boris Cheshirkov.
“We see, and these are estimates and reports coming from local authorities, that already 92,000 refugees are present inside DRC, and they are straddled across 30 localities, these are hard to reach remote areas and it’s difficult to get assistance, we are already scaling up support but we need to mobilise more resources and more funds and this is exactly what we’re calling for.”
Most refugees are struggling in basic shelters located close to rivers, where they face acute food shortages, Mr. Cheshirkov said.
He added that they are dependent on catching fish and on what locals can spare. “Unfortunately, the host communities in these remote areas have extremely limited resources”, the UNHCR official added.
Around 100,000 people remain internally displaced inside CAR, and UNHCR said that the continuing unstable situation has hampered the humanitarian response, with the main supply road also forced shut.
‘Imminent’ Iran execution must be halted, urges UN human rights office
The imminent execution in Iran of a man who was allegedly tortured into confessing that he belonged to a jihadist group must be stopped, the UN human rights office, OHCHR, said on Friday.
The appeal, which came a day before Javid Dehghan was due to be put to death, follows a series of “at least 28” executions since mid-December, including people from ethnic minorities, such as the Baluchi minority, to which Mr. Dehghan belongs.
OHCHR urged the Iranian authorities to review Mr. Dehghan’s case in line with human rights law, citing “serious fair trial violations”.
It noted that he had been reportedly arrested in June 2015 and sentenced to death for “taking up arms to take lives or property and to create fear”.
The UN rights office understands that after being held in solitary confinement for 15 months and allegedly tortured, Mr. Dehghan confessed – and later retracted – being a member of a jihadist group and that he had fatally shot two Revolutionary Guards officials.
The development follows what OHCHR has described as a crackdown on religious minorities in Iran since mid-December 2020.
This has included a series of executions of members of ethnic and religious minority groups – in particular Kurdish, Ahwazi Arab and Baluch communities, said OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani.
Highlighting the disproportionate nature of the punishments, Ms. Shamdasani noted that “a large number of the executions are based on charges that do not amount to ‘most serious crimes’ under Iranian law, including drug and national security charges, and following serious shortcomings of fair trial and due process rights”.
Venezuela: UN rights expert to assess impact of unilateral sanctions
The impact of sanctions on the people of Venezuela is to be investigated next month by a senior independent Human Rights Council-appointed expert, it’s been announced.
UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and unilateral coercive measures, Ms. Alena Douhan, said on Friday that she will visit the Latin American country from 1 to 12 February.
Her aim is to make recommendations on “how any negative effects can be mitigated or eliminated”, she said in a statement, in reference to unilateral US measures.
Concerns over the impact of sanctions on civilians have become even more relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Special Rapporteur said, adding that she will present her final report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in September.
Previously, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet has spoken out against the US sanctions aimed at the Government of Nicolas Maduro, warning that that they would have “far-reaching implications on people’s right to health and food “in a country where there are already serious shortages of essential goods”.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.