This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
UN Envoy ‘saddened’ at death of boy, 7, in occupied West Bank during Israeli patrol
The UN’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, has expressed his sadness at the death of a seven-year-old boy who died during Israeli army manoeuvres in the occupied West Bank.
According to reports, Rayyan Suleiman died after running away from Israeli Defence Forces soldiers in the Palestinian town of Teqoa (Tikwah), near Bethlehem.
He showed no signs of physical trauma and the cause of death appeared to be from heart failure, a medical officer reportedly said.
In a tweet on Thursday, Mr. Wennesland described Rayyan’s death as “tragic”, before calling for an immediate and thorough investigation.
Only two days ago, the UN Special Envoy expressed his deep concern about “escalating instability” in the West Bank, after four Palestinians were killed in Jenin, in armed exchanges during an operation by the Israeli military.
Little progress in combating systemic racism against people of African descent
More than two years since the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in the US sparked the global Black Lives Matter movement, there’s been only “piecemeal progress” to address systemic racism across the world, the UN human rights office said on Friday.
A new report from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, OHCHR, notes “continuing…allegations of discriminatory treatment, unlawful deportations, excessive use of force, and deaths of African migrants and migrants of African descent by law enforcement officials”.
One example was the abuse aimed at African students and workers in Ukraine, as they tried to leave the country, shortly after the Russian invasion in February.
The situation did improve once concerns were raised, said OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani.
She also told journalists in Geneva that activism to address racism against people African descent globally, had led to increased recognition that the problem is systemic, yielding concrete initiatives in some countries.
But she noted that achieving justice for people of African descent who have died at the hands of the police, remains extremely difficult and slow:
“It remains shocking that none of these cases has come to a conclusion after so many years. Adama Traore in France was killed in 2016 – we’re now in 2022 - Luana Barbosa dos Reis Santos was also killed in 2016, we’re now in 2022.”
The human rights office spokesperson pointed to practical measures that countries can take to promote racial justice and equality.
These include supporting high-level events which allow for the voices of people of African descent to be heard, to address systemic racism, OHCHR said.
Condemnation for deadly attack on Afghan educational centre in Kabul
To Afghanistan, where a suspected suicide bomber attack on a school in Kabul on Friday morning has claimed the lives of more than 20 teenagers.
It’s been condemned in the strongest terms by UN humanitarians.
According to reports, young boys and girls were killed after an attacker entered the the Kaaj Educational Center in the Dasht-e-Barchi district of West Kabul.
UN Children’s Fund UNICEF said in a statement that it was appalled by the horrific incident.
The victims were practising for a university entrance exam, the UN agency said, noting that in addition to those killed, many more were severely injured.
Children should never be a target, UNICEF said, adding that violence in or around educational establishments is never acceptable.
“Such places must be havens of peace where children can learn, be with friends, and feel safe as they build skills for their futures,” it said.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.
- UN Envoy ‘saddened’ at death of boy, 7, in occupied West Bank
- Little progress in combating systemic racism against people of African descent: OHCHR
- Condemnation for deadly attack on Afghan educational centre