UN’s Bachelet echoes concern over Ukraine orphans ‘deported’ to Russia for adoption
The UN’s top rights official expressed her concern on Wednesday at reports that Ukrainian children have been “forcibly deported” from embattled eastern regions and taken to Russia for adoption.
Michelle Bachelet told the Human Rights Council that her Office, OHCHR, has been looking into the allegations that youngsters have been taken from orphanages in the Donbas:
“We are concerned about the alleged plans of the Russian authorities to allow the movement of children from Ukraine to families in the Russian Federation, which do not appear to include steps for family reunification or respect the best interests of the child.”
Before the Russian invasion on 24 February, there were more than 91,000 children in Ukraine’s orphanages, boarding schools and other institutions for youngsters, according to UN Children’s Fund UNICEF.
At a press conference in Kyiv on Wednesday, the Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine that was created at the request of Member States in March by the Human Rights Council said that testimonies it had received indicated that “a significant number of children” had disappeared, “particularly children from institutions”.
For the moment, however, it is very difficult to confirm reports that they have been taken to Russia and given citizenship, the Commission of Inquiry said.
Myanmar: international community must stand united in ending repression, says UN rights chief
Returning to the Human Rights Council and UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet, who’s urged the international community to “stand united” in ending repression in Myanmar.
Her comments come a day after she told Member States that Myanmar’s people were subject to likely crimes against humanity and war crimes, and “trapped in a cycle of poverty and displacement, human rights violations and abuses”.
In comments to Member States, Ms. Bachelet noted that it’s been nearly five years since more than one million ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar were forced to flee for their lives to Bangladesh, and 16 months since a military junta staged a coup.
In a call for engagement with Myanmar’s National Unity Government and ethnic organizations, the UN High Commissioner called for an end to the military’s “repressive military campaigns against its own people”.
Civil society, youth and women including from minorities should be given a leading role in these discussions, Ms. Bachelet insisted, adding that various ethnic, religious and social groups had begun “transformative discussions about the future of Myanmar”.
Tanzania: more violence feared over bid to evict Maasai from ancestral lands
To Tanzania, where the reported use of live ammunition against ethnic Maasai herders and the death of a police officer, have been condemned by top UN-appointed independent rights experts.
The development follows the alleged encroachment on traditional Maasai lands and housing and the potential eviction of 150,000 tribespeople, to make way for a game reserve in the north of the country.
In a statement, the rights experts cited reports that Tanzanian security forces had fired live bullets and “lobbed tear gas” at Maasai individuals who were guarding the land earmarked for development in the Ngorongoro District – one of the most famous conservation areas in East Africa, centred around an inactive volcanic crater, teeming with wildlife.
The clash resulted in the death of a police officer and left around 30 people injured, according to the experts, who said that Maasai representatives alleged that there had been “no genuine efforts to consult them” and that they learned details of the planned eviction from leaked documents.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.