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News in Brief 27 September 2022

News in Brief 27 September 2022

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Iran: UN human rights office condemns violent response to hijab protests

The continuing violent response by Iranian security forces to large protests in Iran, sparked by the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, prompted a fresh call on Tuesday from the UN for an investigation.

“Firearms must never be used simply to disperse an assembly,” the UN human rights office, OHCHR, said in a statement.

It noted that many Iranians had been “killed, injured and detained” during demonstrations that followed Ms. Amini’s arrest by Iran’s “morality police” in Tehran, for not respecting strict rules regarding the hijab.

The 22-year-old woman fell into a coma shortly after collapsing at a detention centre two weeks ago. The official cause of death was a heart attack.

OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani told journalists in Geneva that the impact of the protests on Iranian society had been significant.

She described an “outpouring of anger on the streets” at Ms. Amini’s death and the “lack of an adequate investigation” by the authorities, whose response had been to partially shutdown communications.

Russia: alarm at arrests of protesters against mobilisation for Ukraine war

In Russia, nearly 2,400 people have reportedly been arrested for protesting against the Kremlin’s mobilisation call to fight in Ukraine, the UN human rights office, OHCHR, said on Tuesday.

Arrests have happened in various parts of the country, said OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani.

She said that in the Dagestan capital Makhachkala, protests continued on Monday, with hundreds of people taking to the streets and clashing with police officers, resulting in dozens of arrests:

“We stress that arresting people solely for exercising their rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression constitutes an arbitrary deprivation of liberty. We call for the immediate release of all those arbitrarily detained and for the authorities to abide by their international obligations to respect and ensure the rights to freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly.”

Ms. Shamdasani noted that there had been reports of men mistakenly called up despite having no prior military training, and that the authorities had set up a hotline to rectify the situation.

While the majority of the protests are reported to have been peaceful, military and administrative buildings, including enlistment offices, have been attacked in several regions.

Nearly 6,000 DR Congo refugees return home from Zambia

Good news now from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where nearly 6,000 Congolese refugees have been helped to return home from Zambia, after being forced to flee political and interethnic violence.

Announcing the development, the UN refugee agency UNCHR said that the returnees fled clashes in DR Congo’s southeast region in 2017.

Security has improved in some areas of Haut-Katanga province, making the returns possible since December last year, the UN agency explained.

It added that those going home “expressed excitement” and looked forward to reuniting with family and friends.

Returnees receive cash assistance to help cover basic expenses upon arrival home. This covers transportation to their destination, hygiene and household items, and initial rent assistance.

Additional reintegration assistance, such as helping children in enrolling in school, is also being provided.

Daniel Johnson, UN News.

  • UN rights office condemns violent response to hijab protests
  • Russia: alarm at arrests of demonstrators against Ukraine war mobilisation
  • DR Congo families return home from Zambia: UNHCR
Audio Credit
Daniel Johnson, UN News - Geneva
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Photo Credit
UNICEF/Aslan Arfa