News in Brief 22 March 2016 (PM)

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Human Rights day in Goma, DRC. UN Photo/Abel Kavanagh

Execution of human rights defender in DRC strongly condemned

The summary execution of a human rights defender in Democratic Republic of the Congo has been strongly condemned by the UN mission in the country MONUSCO.

Evariste Kasali, who was a coordinator of the NGO Organisation Populaire pour la Paix, was reportedly killed by armed men in Kavumu in South Kivu province on 17 March.

Here's Farhan Haq, the UN Deputy Spokesperson.

"The victim was a well-known human rights defender, working on allegations of abductions and rapes of children in Kavumu and on the inaction of the authorities to address these issues."

Meanwhile, the UN Secretary-General welcomed the judgment issued on Monday by the International Criminal Court in the case of Jean-Pierre Bemba.

He was found guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including rape, murder and pillage, in the Central African Republic in 2002.

Ban Ki-moon said addressing impunity for past crimes in both the CAR and DRC was a significant step towards ensuring lasting and sustainable peace.

New products and technologies needed to aid small farmers

The fight against malnutrition across the world could be stepped up if farmers are given help to increase production and farm in a more sustainable way.

Speaking at the Forum for the Future of Agriculture in Brussels, José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said it was essential to invest and create new products, technologies, and friendlier business models to support small-scale farmers.

According to UN figures, nearly 80 per cent of extremely poor and undernourished people live in rural areas, most of them family farmers who do not grow enough food.

Accountability urged for abuses by militia in Ukraine

The Government of Ukraine has been urged to ensure accountability for human rights violations committed by foreign armed actors during the conflict which has plagued the country since 2014.

Foreign armed actors include volunteers and paid service men and women, as well as independent militia members and the professional military.

Experts of the UN Working Group on mercenaries expressed deep concern about allegations of mercenaries joining all sides to the conflict, which, they stressed, is prohibited under international law.

Some 176 foreigners have been identified as serving in armed groups of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.

At the end of an official five-day visit to the country, the UN experts revealed that human rights violations have reportedly been committed at the hands of not only mercenaries, but also other foreign fighters.

Carmen Cuesta Roca, United Nations

Duration: 2’24″

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