News in Brief 9 December 2016 (AM) – Geneva

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Rohingyas in the village of In Bar Yi, Rakhine State, Myamar. Photo: Julia Wallace/IRIN

Aid access to Myanmar ruled out amid ongoing violence

In Myanmar, violence is ongoing in Rakhine state and thousands of people have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh, the UN said on Friday.

The information comes from the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR; it cited reports that some of the state's Muslim minority have been raped and killed, with villages burned.

The agency's spokesperson William Spindler said that 30,000 people have so far fled their homes in response to the ongoing security operation which began in September.

"There are still reports about burning of villages, rape and killing of civilians, and we still do not have access to Rakhine state…"

Nearly 22,000 civilians have crossed "in a steady stream" into Bangladesh, Mr Spindler added.

13,000 displaced in Republic of Congo violence “may not have enough to eat”

A spike in violence in the Republic of Congo has forced thousands of people from their homes and left them in need of "almost everything", the UN has warned.

According to the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR, 13,000 people in the south-eastern province of Pool may soon not have enough food.

It's the area where fighting between government and suspected so-called Ninja rebels has left houses burned to the ground and farming seriously disrupted.

The escalating situation has forced UNHCR to suspend operations in the Republic of Congo.

Before it did so, the agency reported a heavy military presence along main roads and in towns, and added that the displaced needed shelter, along with food and clean water.

Politicians face rising restrictions and abuse

Politicians may feel under-appreciated at times, but now there's evidence that they're also under attack as never before.

That's according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), which has reported a surge in violations of the fundamental rights of MPs around the world this year.

Latin America and Europe saw a sharp increase in rights abuses, while IPU says there was a significant decrease in African states and the Middle East.

What hasn't changed, IPU noted, is that the majority of cases involved opposition MPs.

IPU Director of Human Rights Rogier Huizenga told journalists in Geneva that the data indicated that peaceful political dissent is increasingly under attack.

There's also evidence that states are resorting to more subtle means of repression, he continued, with cases of arbitrary arrest noticeably down this year, but unfair court actions the most common type of abuse, in one in four instances.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 2’21″



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