This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Taliban response to protests increasingly violent, UN rights office warns
Peaceful protesters across various provinces in Afghanistan have faced an increasingly violent response by the Taliban over the past four weeks, the UN human rights office (OHCHR) said on Friday, including the use of live ammunition, batons and whips.
Speaking in Geneva, OHCHR spokesperson, Ravina Shamdasani, said the Taliban prohibited unauthorized assemblies on Wednesday, and on Thursday they ordered telecomms companies to switch off internet on mobile phones in specific areas of Kabul.
Protests have been taking place since 15 August and are becoming more frequent, she said, calling for the Taliban to stop the use of force and arbitrary detention of journalists:
“As Afghan women and men take to the streets during this time of great uncertainty in their country to press peacefully for their human rights to be respected – including women’s right to work, to freedom of movement, to education and political participation – it is crucial that those in power listen to their voices”.
She added that the freedom of peaceful assembly and expression must be ensured, including as a means for people to voice their concerns and participate in public affairs.
Afghans resort to extreme coping strategies to feed families - WFP
Staying with Afghanistan, and the World Food Programme (WFP) has warned of growing hunger amid mounting economic hardship and uncertainty.
Some 93 per cent of households don’t have enough to eat, while three in four families are already reducing portion sizes or reduced to borrowing food.
According to phone surveys carried out from 21 August to 5 September in all 34 provinces, families are also buying cheaper, less nutritious foods and parents are skipping meals entirely to allow children to eat.
The number of households resorting to extreme coping strategies has doubled: “a clear sign that many families are teetering on the edge of absolute destitution” said WFP Deputy Regional Director Anthea Webb.
With winter fast approaching and the economy collapsing, it is now “a race against time to deliver lifesaving assistance to the Afghan people,” Ms Webb said.
Human Rights abuses intensifying in eastern DR Congo - UNHCR
An alarming number of human rights abuses against civilians have been carried out this year by armed groups in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said on Friday.
In the two most affected provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, UNHCR and its partners, recorded more than 1,200 civilian deaths and 1,100 rapes and a total of 25,000 human rights abuses.
Speaking in Geneva, UNHCR spokesperson Boris Cheshirkov said the violence “continues to cost lives and drive people from their homes”.
“It is estimated that more than one million Congolese have been internally displaced in 2021 in the country's east. Repeated displacement has put enormous pressure on those forced to flee and host families that have taken in 94 per cent of DRC forcibly displaced. Host families have shown huge generosity towards their compatriots but are exhausted and in need of support if they are to continue as first responders”.
Mr. Cheshirkov said that ‘returnees’, accounted for 65 per cent of the serious human rights abuses recorded.
Despite government efforts to reduce the abuse by rebel miltias, “our teams continue to hear horrific accounts of sexual violence, extortion, and looting,” he said.
Katy Dartford, UN News.