This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Condemnation for Burkina Faso terror attack – Guterres
UN chief António Guterres has led condemnation for a terrorist attack in the north of Burkina Faso, that has claimed the lives of more than 100 civilians, including seven children.
The outrage, reported by the Government at the weekend, is one of the deadliest in years in the west African nation, where three days of mourning are underway.
Reports indicate that the unidentified assailants initially targeted a gold mine near a village in the Province of Yagha, close the border with Niger, before attacking the community’s market.
In a message issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Guterres condemned the “unacceptable human toll” of the incident; he also underscored the “urgent need” to redouble support to Member States fighting the growing threat of violent extremism throughout the Sahel.
Such attacks have become relatively commonplace in the Central Sahel where the UN humanitarian office OCHA said that they have increased eight times between 2015 and 2020.
“Security incidents, attacks, and kidnappings are a daily reality for millions of civilians”, OCHA said in a recent online situation update, which highlighted how communities “are caught between armed groups, intercommunal violence and military operations that severely impact their access to basic social services, livelihoods and assistance”.
Belarus: ‘Black hole’ for media freedoms, say UN independent rights experts
Top UN-appointed independent rights experts on Monday echoed global condemnation of the arrest by Belarussian authorities of social media activist Roman Protasevich, along with his alleged torture and forced confession.
The “reckless manner in which Mr Protasevich was arrested” showed “an utter disregard for international human rights norms by the authorities in Belarus”, the independent experts said, in reference to the forced landing in Belarus made by the Lithuania-bound Ryanair flight that was carrying Mr Protasevich on 23 May.
In their statement, the experts said that the “outrageous manner in which Mr. Protasevich” was arrested showed “that there is no limit to what this government will do to silence critics”.
The episode was roundly condemned at the time by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); the Office warned that it heralded a new phase in the campaign of repression against journalists and civil society in Belarus, where protests have continued since August 2020 at the result of presidential elections.
Haiti: Rise in gang violence forces civilians to flee
Finally, a disturbing rise in deadly gang violence in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince has forced hundreds of families to flee their homes, the UN’s top humanitarian official there has warned.
In an appeal for safe passage for aid workers to reach all those in desperate need of help, Humanitarian Coordinator Bruno Lemarquis said that clashes between rival gangs have become increasingly common in the Caribbean island nation.
Many people had been killed and injured in the neighbourhoods of Martissant, Cité-Soleil and Bel Air, Mr Lemarquis said on Saturday, his comments coming after a series of similar incidents including one in March, when nearly 2,500 people fled their homes in Tabarre Issa, after “orchestrated attacks” by gangs.
Mr. Lemarquis noted that the protection of civilians was a priority and insisted that humanitarian actors should be given unrestricted access to people displaced by violence, “so that they can receive the aid they so desperately need”.
Access to healthcare, education and other basic services should be re-established without delay, as should people’s freedom of movement, the UN aid official added.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.