Tuesday's Daily Brief: Afghanistan ‘direct talks’ needed, Nicaragua rights crisis, Bangladesh monsoon and Libya detainees latest, Dorian update

An elderly woman being held at a female detention centre in northern Afghanistan (2010).
UNAMA/Eric Kanalstein
An elderly woman being held at a female detention centre in northern Afghanistan (2010).

Tuesday's Daily Brief: Afghanistan ‘direct talks’ needed, Nicaragua rights crisis, Bangladesh monsoon and Libya detainees latest, Dorian update

Humanitarian Aid

A recap of Monday’s top stories: All Afghans must participate in peace process; Nicaragua’s rights crisis can be resolved says Bachelet; Rohingya refugees impacted by monsoon rains; Libya detainees to be evacuated to Rwanda; and multiple donors show solidarity with the Bahamas.

‘Whole spectrum of Afghan society’ must get behind peace talks, UN envoy tells Security Council

The 100th anniversary of Afghanistan’s Independence was celebrated in Kandahar and across the country in August 2019 with hundreds of people taking to the streets with Afghan flags.

The long Afghan conflict can only be resolved by “direct talks” between its own people, the chief of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) told the Security Council on Tuesday, underscoring that they must be inclusive and represent “the whole spectrum of Afghan society”.

“The events of recent days and weeks have shown, more than ever, the urgency of finding a political settlement to the long Afghan conflict”, Special Representative Tadamichi Yamamoto said.

Here’s our full coverage.

Nicaragua ‘crisis’ still cause for concern amid murder, torture allegations: Bachelet

“They were students, not criminals” reads a demonstrator's placard  in Managua, Nicaragua. (file July 2018)

Nicaragua’s on-going human rights crisis can be resolved peacefully through dialogue, the UN’s top rights official said on Tuesday, before expressing concern about allegations of torture and murder of protesters involved in last year’s anti-Government demonstrations.

In her address to the Human Rights CouncilMichelle Bachelet said that abuses have continued against activists who opposed social security reforms in the Central American state, more than 100 of whom are still in prison.

Read our full story here.

Monsoon rains and landslides cause 'worst impact of year' on Rohingya refugees

Rohingya refugees make their way down a footpath during a heavy monsoon downpour in Kutupalong refugee settlement, Cox's Bazar district. 2018.

Heavy rains causing flooding and landslides have had the most severe impact of the year so far on the world’s largest refugee camp in Bangladesh, the UN said on Tuesday.

The World Food Programme, or WFPwarned that thousands of people in Cox’s Bazar have been seriously affected by the monsoon, including host communities.  

Spokesperson Herve Verhoosel said that WFP is ready to distribute hot meals and emergency food rations:

“This week the impact of heavy monsoon rains in Cox’s Bazar is the most severe of this year, impacting the host community as well as the camps, with flooding and landslides. 4,500 people in the Cox’s Bazar camp have been affected this week alone”, he said. 

In July, WFP supported more than 11,000 refugees after similar torrential downpours - a significant increase compared with 12 months ago.  

Since August 2017, Bangladesh has experienced a massive influx of Rohingya refugees fleeing violence and discrimination in Rakhine State in neighbouring Myanmar.

Hundreds of Libya detainees to be evacuated to Rwanda, says UN Refugee Agency

A woman weeps, minutes after being saved by the Sea Watch search and rescue ship, in Libya.

A deal has been reached to evacuate hundreds of refugees and asylum-seekers out of Libyan detention centres, where brutal conditions persist for migrants.

Under the joint agreement signed on Tuesday between the UN refugee agency, or UNHCR, Rwanda and the African Union, the detainees will be transferred to Rwanda where they will receive protection.

Some “may benefit from resettlement to third countries”; others will be helped to return to their home countries if it is safe to do so. Flights are set to begin in the coming weeks.

Around 500 men, women and children, mainly from the Horn of Africa, are set to leave following the agreement.  

Speaking in Geneva, UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch said the evacuations would be a lifeline for those trapped in Libya, and that evacuees would receive ongoing support after their arrival. 

Although UNHCR has already moved well over 4,000 refugees from Libya to other countries since 2017, it’s estimated some 4,700 people are still being held in detention centres, which have become notorious for alleged rights abuses.

The agency is urging the international community to contribute resources to support the implementation of the agreement.  

Solidarity with hurricane-slammed Bahamas

The devastation of hurricane Dorian is visible in Treasure Cay, Bahamas. The Coast Guard is supporting the Bahamian National Emergency Management Agency and the Royal Bahamian Defense Force, who are leading search and rescue efforts. (4 September 2019)

In the wake of Hurricane Dorian, the Bahamian Government has registered approximately 4,800 evacuees in Nassau, 1,600 of whom are in shelters and receiving assistance.

While the official death toll remains at 43, the number of casualties is expected to increase as many people remain missing.

The category 5 hurricane hit the Abaco Islands in the northern Bahamas and continued west, causing further devastation to Grand Bahama Island.

In support of national authorities, the UN and humanitarian organizations continue to conduct needs-assessment missions on both islands while delivering assistance to various locations.

As the situation remains fluid, regular assessments are required.

“The people of the northern Bahamas have been devastated by this huge hurricane, the like of which has never been seen here before,” Mark Lowcock, who heads the UN Humanitarian Affairs Coordination Office (OCHA) had told UN News in an earlier interview.

OCHA says water, sanitation, health and food are priority needs along with debris clearance on roads to increase access to the impacted areas.


Listen to or download our audio News in Brief for 10 September, on Soundcloud: