News in Brief 28 September 2016 (PM)

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Aristide Nononsi, on a visit to El Fasher in North Darfur, Sudan   UNAMID/Hamid Abdulsalam (file photo)

Sudan violence takes centre stage at Human Rights Council

Concerns about rights violations in Sudan took centre stage at the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday, where Member States heard details of ongoing violence.

Presenting his latest report, independent investigator Aristide Nononsi highlighted grave abuses in three states : Darfur, Blue Nile State and South Kordofan.

Mr Nononsi described the human rights situation inside these states as "precarious" amid escalating clashes between government forces and separatists from the Sudan Liberation Movement-Abdul Wahid, or SLM.

He described arbitrary executions as well as the destruction and burning of villages, hostage-taking of women and acts of sexual violence from October 2015 to June 2016.

Massive displacement linked to the abuse was also reported, including at least 80,000 people in Darfur alone.

Speaking at the Human Rights Council, Sudan responded to the investigator's call for a "free and fair national dialogue" which could reconcile the country, indicating that it intended to resume discussions in October with opposition groups.

Initial findings released on downing of Malaysia airlines flight MH17

The release of the initial results of a criminal investigation into the downing of Malaysia airlines flight MH17 in Ukraine has been welcomed by the UN chief.

The plane was hit by a Buk missile as it travelled from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on 17 July 2014, killing all 298 people on board.

Ban Ki-moon commended the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) for their "extensive efforts" in carrying out a "thorough, impartial and independent" probe into the incident.

The team includes police officers and prosecutors from the Netherlands, Ukraine, Australia, Malaysia and Belgium.

Stéphane Dujarric is the UN Spokesperson.

"We believe the final conclusions of the criminal investigation, together with those of the technical investigation led by the Dutch Safety Board that identified the cause of the crash, will be crucial in bringing the perpetrators to justice."

The Security Council failed to adopt a resolution in July 2015 that would establish an international tribunal to prosecute those responsible for crimes connected to the shooting of MH17.

Call for probe into "lethal use" of water cannon in South Korea

The death of a South Korean protester, knocked to the ground by a water cannon, has prompted a UN expert to call for an independent investigation into its "lethal use".

Baek Nam-gi, a 69-year-old farmer, was knocked over by a water cannon operated by police in the capital Seoul, last November, during a peaceful rally.

He fell into a coma and died on 25 September.

Maina Kiai, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, expressed his "deepest condolences" to the relatives and friends of Mr Baek.

He said that video footage of the water cannon incident showed that it had "unambiguously" led to Mr Baek's death.

"The perpetrators should be held accountable," added the UN independent expert, and "adequate measures" taken to prevent a "similar tragedy" from happening again.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 3’30″

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