This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
Ukraine flood disaster: needs grow as long-term impacts loom
Immediate needs are “huge” following the destruction of the Kakhovka dam in Ukraine, the UN’s top official in the country said on Friday.
Denise Brown, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Ukraine, was speaking as the UN brought in a five-truck convoy to affected areas, carrying desperately needed drinking water, food and equipment to help repair damaged homes.
Here she is, speaking to journalists from Bilozerka, a town on the Dnipro River about 20 kilometres west of Kherson and five kilometres from the frontline:
“It’s agricultural land that I’ve seen today that’s flooded, it’s homes destroyed, social infrastructure, it’s water, it’s energy, the environment potentially being contaminated. So, huge immediate needs, and a big, big long-term problem.”
In addition to stagnant water fuelling the risk of cholera and diarrhoea, hazards from landmines floating downstream now threaten civilians.
Ms. Brown said that the UN has been asked by the Government to help communicate the risks from unexploded ordnance in the floodwaters.
UN aid teams have also reiterated concerns about the plight of civilians in areas under Russian military control, as they have no access to Russian-occupied territories in the Kherson region.
Sudan: UN rights office deplores killing of civilians, sexual violence
As the fighting in Sudan continues to take a devastating toll on civilians, children are being killed, women raped and journalists threatened with death, the UN rights office (OHCHR) warned on Friday.
In the past week in the capital Khartoum, an airstrike was allegedly carried out by the Sudanese Armed Forces on a busy livestock market, killing eight civilians.
In addition, a child died when a shell hit his home, a refugee centre was hit, killing at least10 refugees and at least seven other civilians died in attacks, including a pregnant woman.
OHCHR also said that since the fighting began on 15 April, it had received “credible reports” of 12 incidents of sexual violence related to the conflict, against at least 37 women and girls.
Reports of enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention of journalists are another cause for concern for OHCHR, along with comments on Facebook calling for the killing of specific journalists accused of being supporters of the Rapid Support Forces.
The UN human rights office reiterated calls to both parties to the conflict to ensure the protection of civilians and respect for international humanitarian law and international human rights law.
Arrests and hate speech target Baha’i minority in Yemen
Staying with human rights, the UN rights office (OHCHR) sounded the alarm on Friday over the detention in Yemen’s capital Sana’a of followers of the minority Baha’i faith - and a sermon targeting them and other religious groups.
OHCHR said that on 25 May, security forces stormed a peaceful meeting of Baha’is in Sana’a. Seventeen people, including five women, were taken to an unknown location, and all but one, are still being held incommunicado. The UN rights office urged the de facto Houthi authorities in Sana’a to immediately release the detainees.
On 2 June, according to OHCHR, the Mufti appointed by the de facto authorities accused the detained Baha’is of being traitors, and said that if they did not repent, they “should be killed”.
The UN human rights office condemned the use of “any language that incites discrimination and violence, particularly against minorities, and often leads to forced exile and displacement”, in addition to contravening international law.
Dominika Tomaszewska-Mortimer, UN News.
- Ukraine flooding devastation: huge immediate needs; long-term impacts loom
- Sudan: UN rights office deplores killing of civilians, sexual violence
- Arrests and hate speech target Baha’i minority in Yemen