News in Brief 21 March 2016 (AM)

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Children of African descent. UN File Photo: Logan Abassi.

Stand up for diversity on International Day against racism

People worldwide are being urged by the UN Secretary-General to stand up for diversity and dignity for all.

Ban Ki-moon's call comes in a message issued on Monday, 21 March: the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Mr Ban said economic hardship and "political opportunism" have triggered increased hostility, resulting in bigotry and violence against refugees, migrants and Muslims.

The UN chief called for people to speak out against anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim bigotry and other forms of hate as he said "an assault on one minority community is an attack on all."

Human rights chief welcomes judgement against former Congolese rebel leader

A judgement against a former Congolese warlord for crimes committed in the Central African Republic (CAR) more than a decade ago has been welcomed by the UN Human Rights High Commissioner.

The International Criminal Court on Monday found Jean-Pierre Bemba guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including rape, murder and pillage, in the CAR in 2002-2003.

Bemba, from neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo, commanded a rebel group whose troops were sent to the CAR to fight a coup attempt against the country's former President.

They were accused of committing serious crimes, including sexual violence.

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said although the case may be subject to appeal, it sends an "important message" that international justice will prevail.

He hoped the judgement will act as a "powerful deterrent" against future serious human rights abuses, not just in the CAR but everywhere they are committed.

Genocide fugitive transferred to Rwanda for trial

A man wanted for crimes committed during the 1994 Rwandan genocide has been transferred to that country for trial, the United Nations said on Monday.

Ladislas Ntaganzwa, a former mayor, was indicted 20 years ago by a UN-backed tribunal in connection with the massacre of thousands of Tutsis, and for sexual assaults which he had ordered.

He was transferred from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Rwanda on Sunday in line with an international warrant of arrest issued by the UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals.

Mr Ntaganzwa is among nine fugitives wanted for trial.

The UN body is calling on the international community to help secure the arrest and transfer of the others, who remain at large.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2'38"

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