This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Bachelet condemns Afghanistan abuses as Taliban advance continues
Disturbing reports of Taliban violence against communities now under their control in Afghanistan have been condemned by UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet, who on Tuesday backed a return to peace negotiations in Doha.
The High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement that there was “fear and dread” across Afghanistan, which had driven people to flee their homes.
Women have been flogged and killed in areas overrun by the extremists, while journalists and human rights defenders had also been attacked and killed, Ms. Bachelet said.
Since 9 July, the UN rights office has confirmed almost 200 civilian fatalities in four Afghan cities; another twelve hundred have been injured.
In Geneva, spokesperson for the High Commissioner, Ravina Shamdasani, said that people “rightly” feared that the Taliban would erase the human rights gains of the past two decades, as US and international forces continue to pull out of Afghanistan:
“We’ve already documented 183 civilians, but we do fear that this is really just the tip of the iceberg. The 1,981 who have already documented to be injured, we don’t know how many of them might have succumbed to their injuries. People are living in fear and dread. Women are already being killed and shot for breaching rules that have been imposed on what they can wear and where they can move without a male escort. It’s time for the international community to prioritise peace in Afghanistan.”
To date, the Taliban has overrun 192 district administrative centres in Afghanistan, attacked provincial capitals and taken over at least six provincial capitals in Nimroz, Jawzjan, Kunduz province, Takhar and Sar-e-Pul.
UNHCR regains access to Tigray refugee camps hosting Eritrean nationals
To Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region, now, where UN aid workers said that they’ve regained access to two refugee camps cut off by fighting since last month.
UN refugee agency (UNHCR) spokesperson Boris Cheshirkov said on Tuesday that emergency aid had reached the camps’ 23,000 Eritrean nationals, who have been without assistance since 13 July.
But he warned that access is limited to Mai Aini and Adi Harush camps in southern Tigray, where healthcare is unavailable and clean drinking water is running out:
“For Mai Aini and Adi Harush, those two sites on the 13 July we lost access because of the volatile security situation and clashes that were happening in the area; we have now been able to regain this access and that’s a positive development alongside the fact that we are now able to get some of the assistance into Tigray which is urgently needed for so many displaced.”
To protect the camps’ residents, the UNHCR spokesperson called for safe passage for those in the camps to be moved to new facilities in Alemwach, near Dabat town, 135 kilometres away.
Mr. Cheshirkov also expressed concern that more people have been forced to flee fighting in Ethiopia’s Amhara and Afar regions, where some 100,000 people in Amhara and 70,000 in Afar have likely been displaced.
The UN agency has appealed for more than $164.5 million to assist around three quarters of a million people in Tigray - and some 120,000 Ethiopian refugees in Sudan.
Tigray food assistance scaling up, but not fast enough, warns WFP
Staying with Tigray, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said on Tuesday that aid trucks reached more than a million people on the verge of famine in June and July, but far more help is still needed.
Citing severe shortages of food, cash, fuel and functioning telecommunications equipment, the UN agency said that it has only delivered assistance to half the number it had planned to.
More than 175 trucks arrived in Tigray during the first week of August, including 90 trucks carrying more than 5,000 tonnes of food aid.
An additional 90 trucks are expected to arrive in the coming days to replenish stocks of food, fuel, nutrition, health, sanitation and shelter items.
But with 5.2 million people in the region in need of food assistance – that’s 90 per cent of Tigray’s population - WFP said that it needs at least 100 trucks arriving daily to meet the vast needs.
“People in Tigray are suffering due to lack of humanitarian support over the past month – we need to reach them now before they fall into famine,” said WFP’s Michael Dunford, who called for all parties to guarantee the flow of humanitarian supplies into Tigray, “before it’s too late”.
Katy Dartford, UN News.