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UN Human Rights Office

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News in Brief 17 March 2023

  • Lives of 10 million children on the line as conflict rages in central Sahel
  • UN rights chief calls on Belarus to end campaign of repression
  • Emergency response continues in cyclone-hit Southern Africa
OCHA/Gemma Cortes

Upsurge in violence forces 88,000 people in CAR to flee: UNHCR

An upsurge in violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) has forced more than 88,000 people to flee their homes, a spokesperson for the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, has said.

Twenty thousand of them have sought refuge in neighbouring DRC, or the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Babar Baloch confirmed.

The agency is appealing for more than US$200 million to assist those forcibly displaced, but has so far received only nine per cent of the funds.

UN News/Matthew Wells

“Important” for more Ukrainian women to enter politics

It’s important for Ukrainian women to be an empowered voice in politics and represent vulnerable groups such as those displaced by conflict in the east.

That’s according to Hanna Hopko, a leading member of the Ukrainian parliament who was at UN Headquarters last week to attend meetings of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

UN Photo/Andita Listyarini

“Lack of recognition” in addressing sexual violence against men, boys

There has been a “lack of recognition” in addressing sexual violence against men and boys, according to a gender specialist, speaking at UN Headquarters.

Kelli Muddell is Director of the Gender Justice Program at the International Center for Transitional Justice, a UN partner organization that specializes in providing redress for human rights abuses in post-conflict areas.

She said most male victims are embarrassed to come forward because it is an act that “challenges their manhood”.

Andita Listyarini asked Ms Muddell how serious the problem was for men and boys.


Deep foreboding for Aleppo civilians amid alleged executions

Reports have emerged from Syria’s Aleppo city that dozens of civilians - including women and children - have been executed by pro-government forces as they close in on the last remaining neighbourhoods still held by opposition groups.

The UN Human Rights Office, OHCHR, said that civilians have paid a “brutal price” as the Syrian military and its allies take back the city.

UN Photo/Malia Hurwitz

Intersex children subject to “unnecessary” medical treatment

Children, whose gender cannot be defined as male or female are often forced by their parents to undergo surgery in an attempt to “normalize” their bodies, according to a UN official.

Charles Radcliffe, head of the UN Free & Equal Campaign, said that this medical procedure could leave “terrible scars”, such as incontinence, loss of sexual sensation and mental illness.

The UN is calling for a ban on “unnecessary” treatment for children with no clear gender also known as intersex children.

OHCHR/Joseph Smida

Estimated 1.7 per cent of new-born babies are intersex

An estimated 1.7 per cent of new-born babies across the world can be classified as intersex, which means their gender cannot simply be defined as male or female.

That’s according to the UN Free & Equal Campaign, initiated by the UN Office for Human Rights.

The campaign is working with intersex people to raise awareness of their existence and help protect their rights.

Hida Viloria is an intersex advocate and author of the book entitled “Born Both.”

UNHCR/Ivor Prickett

Forced relocations, executions as Mosul liberation offensive continues

Tens of thousands of people living in areas surrounding the Iraqi city of Mosul are being used as human shields by ISIL as the battle to retake the city from the extremist group rages on.

That’s according to the UN human rights office (OHCHR) which reported that in one incident this week, ISIL killed more than 230 people for not following orders or for being former security officers.