News in Brief 27 September 2016 (PM)

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Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore. Photo: UN Photo/Elma Okic

"Manifestly excessive and lethal force" used on people in DRC

Security forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or DRC used "manifestly excessive and lethal force" on crowds gathered in the capital Kinshasa according to, the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Last week, at least 53 people, including 49 civilians, had been killed during clashes between government forces and demonstrators.

The unrest is related to uncertainty over proposed presidential elections.

Speaking at a meeting of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Deputy High Commissioner Kate Gilmore said the Council had been urged to increase its scrutiny of the human rights situation in the country and to join the call for investigations into alleged violations there.

The representative for the DRC clarified that the demonstrations had not been peaceful and that there had been looting and burning of State offices as well as the offices of various political parties.

 

Ukraine warring parties "need to stand by ceasefire", says UN's Gilmore

Meanwhile, in Ukraine, allegations of torture and grave human rights abuses have also been condemned by Ms Gilmore, ahead of a call for warring parties to abide by their ceasefire commitments.

The conflict between government forces and separatist rebels which began in April 2014 has continued to affect densely populated civilian areas, the UN Deputy High Commissioner said.

She made reference to the Minsk Agreements which the warring parties signed in September 2014 to halt the fighting.

"More than half of all the civilian casualties recorded in June and July were caused by shelling along the contact line, allegedly including through the use of weapons expressly prohibited by the Minsk Agreements."

Ms Gilmore added that the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics had denied external observers access, raising concerns of torture and gender-based violence.

Human rights have also deteriorated further in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, amid further integration into the Russian Federation, the Deputy High Commissioner said.

Speaking as a concerned country, Ukraine said that the root cause of the alleged abuses was the gross violations of human rights by the Russian Federation on Ukrainian territory.

The Russian Federation also spoke at the Council, regretting the loss of life of civilians, the use of torture, arbitrary detention committed by the Ukrainian special forces.

 

Americas region declared "free of measles"

The Americas region has been declared "free of measles" by a panel of experts with the World Health Organization's regional office, PAHO.

The viral disease causes severe health problems including pneumonia, blindness, brain swelling and even death.

It's a highly contagious disease that affects mainly children and can be spread by bodily fluids like saliva, mucus or by air after someone has coughed or sneezed.

Measles is the fifth vaccine-preventable disease to be eliminated from the Americas, after smallpox, polio and rubella.

A recent study in Latin America and the Caribbean found that more than 16,000 deaths have been prevented between 2000 and 2020 because of vaccines.

To maintain measles elimination, PAHO/WHO and the International Expert Committee recommend that countries in the region maintain active surveillance for the disease.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration:3’36″

 

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