This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Probe announced into alleged Tigray rights violations: UN rights office
Alleged serious abuses and rights violations in Ethiopia’s Tigray region are to be investigated by the UN, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said on Thursday.
The probe, which will be carried out jointly by the High Commissioner’s Office and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, is described “as part of the much-needed accountability process for the victims”.
The development comes after fighting began in the north Ethiopian state on 4 November last year, between forces loyal to regional power brokers the TPLF and national Government forces.
Serious human rights violations and abuses have been reported, the UN rights office said in a statement.
It pointed to the “multiple actors involved in the conflict and the gravity of the reported violations”, and the need for an objective, independent investigation which will start “as soon as possible” and for an initial period of three months.
We must stand with Rohingya refugees after camp blaze: UN emergency relief chief
The Rohingya refugees who lost everything in a massive fire at a camp in southern Bangladesh need the world’s support more than ever.
That’s the message from the UN’s emergency relief chief, Mark Lowcock, who’s released $14 million from a central fund to support thousands of families at Kutupalong camp in southern Bangladesh.
Monday’s blaze uprooted more than 45,000 mostly ethnic Rohingya
The cause of the fire is still unknown, as is the exact number of casualties at the camp, UN Children’s Fund spokesperson James Elder told UN News shortly after the blaze was brought under control:
“UN teams on the ground have been reporting over the last 12 hours that they’ve not really ever seen anything of this scale and intensity that has ripped through homes where you’ve often got 10 people living in a small shanty as a family or as an extended family, so we’re reporting at least 15 people are dead, 400 are missing, tens of thousands who again were already living in a very difficult situation, tens of thousands have lost what they call their homes and whatever meagre possessions that they had.”
In a statement on Thursday, Mr. Lowcock described the refugees - who fled what top UN officials have likened to ethnic cleansing in Myanmar in 2017 - as one of the world’s most vulnerable communities.
They “need our support now more than ever, as the (COVID-19) pandemic continues to take its toll” and with the approaching monsoon season”, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator explained.
Myanmar: UN expert urges emergency summit to head off deepening crisis
To Myanmar now, and an appeal from rights expert, UN Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews, for greater international pressure to resolve the “deepening crisis” there that’s followed the military coup on 1 February.
“Conditions …are deteriorating,” Mr Andrews said on Thursday, warning that the situation “will likely get much worse without an immediate robust…response in support of those under siege”.
To date, more than 120 people have been killed by security forces, according to UN independent rights experts, and the UN human rights office has condemned the soaring death toll.
Mr. Andrews underlined the ineffectiveness of sanctions which have “left the most lucrative business assets of the junta unscathed”.
In a call to UN Member States, including those in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the European Union, the United States and China, the Special Rapporteur urged them to hold an emergency summit to provide a “focused, diplomatic solution” to the crisis.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.