News in Brief 20 June 2017 (AM) – Geneva

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Congolese women and children arrive at a border point in Chissanda, Lunda Norte, Angola after fleeing militia attacks in Kasai Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo. UNHCR workers were waiting to register them and organise onward transportation to camps or settlements. Photo: UNHCR/Pumla Rulashe

Central DRC region has become “a landscape of horror”: UN Human Rights chief

UN rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein told the Human Rights Council on Tuesday that the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) had not done enough to bring abusers to justice in the Kasais – though there had been progress in other parts of the country.

Zeid added that the DRC had "sought to limit" the UN's role in ensuring accountability for victims of violence there that has forced 1.3 million people from their homes and reportedly involved child soldiers as young as seven.

He described the Kasai region as “a landscape of horror” with “various actors” fuelling ethnic hatred resulting in “extremely grave” and apparently planned attacks against the civilian population.

Meanwhile, DRC’s Human Rights Minister told the Council that "justice will be done" on behalf of two UN investigators murdered inside the country last January, while on mission.

Marie Ange Mushobekwa told Member States that an investigation into the killings in March of UN rights experts Zaida Catalan and Michael Sharp had begun with nine suspects arrested so far.

"We have absolutely nothing to hide, on the contrary, we are doing everything we can to ensure that the truth comes to light in this matter and that justice be done to the victims."

Response stepped up for Yemen cholera outbreak

Efforts are being stepped up to contain the cholera epidemic in Yemen where 20 out of 22 governorates are affected, UN agencies said on Tuesday.

The disease is endemic in Yemen and is characterised by severe watery diarrhoea.

Nearly 1,200 people have died in the latest outbreak and there are more than 172,000 suspected cases in the Arabian peninsula country, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Together with the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), WHO says it is "racing" to stop the spread of cholera from the worst-affected areas by providing water purifying tablets and diarrhoea treatment centres.

These include to Raymah in western Yemen where mortality rates are almost twice the national average.

The more than two-year conflict in the country has devastated the country's health facilities – less than half are fully functional.

In a statement, WHO said that its health, water, sanitation and hygiene partners need US $ 66.7 million to scale up the cholera response.

Attack on aid convoy drivers "a violation of international law"

An attack on a Syria aid convoy that left one driver seriously injured has been condemned by the UN humanitarian coordinating agency, OCHA, as a violation of international law.

Spokesperson Jens Laerke told journalists in Geneva that the man – a member of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent – was attempting to deliver assistance to East Harasta near Damascus at the weekend.

He was shot after being forced to turn back after multiple delays, and is now in a stable condition after being operated on overnight.

A second driver was also injured in the convoy to East Harasta, which finally received enough aid for 11,000 people on Monday – a third of the requested amount.

This is the first inter-agency humanitarian convoy to reach East Harasta since 29 October 2016.

Duration: 2′ 58″

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