OHCHR / SUDAN DRC WESTERN BALKANS

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12-Nov-2021 00:04:21
Spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Liz Throssell briefed reporters on recent developments in Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Western Balkans. UNTV CH

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STORY: OHCHR / SUDAN DRC WESTERN BALKANS
TRT: 4:21
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 12 NOVEMBER 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:
1. Various shots, Palais des Nations Geneva
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Liz Throssell, Spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“With the reported killing of 14 people and injury of some 300 during protests between 25 and 30 October due to the unnecessary and disproportionate use of force by military and security forces, it is crucial that all necessary steps are taken to ensure that there is no further bloodshed at protests planned for tomorrow and beyond.”
3. Wide shot, press briefing room
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Liz Throssell, Spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“Those responsible for the violence, including the use of live ammunition against demonstrators – must be promptly and transparently held accountable, in line with international human rights laws and standards.”
5. Wide shot, press briefing room
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Liz Throssell, Spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“Our Joint UN Human Rights Office in Sudan has verified the arrest of 57 people, including Government officials, political and civil society actors, human rights defenders and journalists, since 25 October. We understand 10 of these people have since been released, but we have yet to receive a written response to our formal request for information about and access to the detainees. Access has also been denied to their lawyers and family members.”
7. Wide shot, press briefing room
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Liz Throssell, Spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“Blunt measures such as blanket Internet and telecommunications shutdowns, sometimes for prolonged periods, violate the principles of necessity and proportionality and contravene international law.”
9. Wide shot, press briefing room
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Liz Throssell, Spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“The number of violations and abuses reported in Masisi and Lubero has increased steadily since 2015. Currently, more than half of the human rights violations and abuses recorded in North Kivu province take place in these two territories.”
11. Wide shot, press briefing room
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Liz Throssell, Spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“The 2,359 abuses recorded in 2021 included, among others, 484 people summarily executed, 1,455 injured after being attacked and 354 victims of sexual violence.”
13. Wide shot, press briefing room
14. SOUNDBITE (English) Liz Throssell, Spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“From January to October, the Joint Human Rights Office also recorded 966 violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by security forces in Masisi and Lubero, a significant increase from 387 registered in 2020 and 183 in 2019.”
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Liz Throssell, Spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“We call on the authorities to establish prompt, impartial, independent and effective investigations into all human rights violations and abuses with a view to hold those responsible accountable. We also urge authorities to ensure that security personnel deployed to the two territories to confront the armed groups are properly trained to prevent human rights violations from occurring.”
16. Wide shot, press briefing room
17. SOUNDBITE (English) Liz Throssell, Spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“The mural in Belgrade is not an isolated incident. Posters, graffiti and other materials praising war criminals are found elsewhere in Serbia, as well as in various towns in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro and elsewhere in the region.”
18. Wide shot, press briefing room
19. SOUNDBITE (English) Liz Throssell, Spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“Symbols glorifying convicted war criminals should have no place in the public space. Such symbols are all the more concerning given the recent rise in hate speech and denial of genocide and other atrocity crimes in the Western Balkans – developments that highlight the failure to address the past.”
20. Wide shot, press briefing room
21. SOUNDBITE (English) Liz Throssell, Spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“We call on the authorities in the region to abide by their international human rights obligations to ensure the rights to truth, justice and reparation, as well as to adopt measures to prevent recurrence and to promote further reconciliation efforts. We call on them to condemn and refrain from all forms of hate speech and incitement to violence and to ensure the perpetrators of such acts are held accountable.”
22. Wide shot, press briefing room

STORYLINE:

Spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Liz Throssell briefed reporters on recent developments in Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Western Balkans.

On Sudan, Throssell told repoters today (12 Nov) in Geneva, “with the reported killing of 14 people and injury of some 300 during protests between 25 and 30 October due to the unnecessary and disproportionate use of force by military and security forces, it is crucial that all necessary steps are taken to ensure that there is no further bloodshed at protests planned for tomorrow and beyond.”

Ahead of the protests planned to take place across Sudan on Saturday (13 Nov), the Spokesperson called on military leaders to "ensure that the Sudanese people’s rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are fully respected. Security forces need to receive clear instructions that they must not disperse peaceful assemblies and must refrain from the use of force unless absolutely necessary, as a measure of last resort and only to the minimum extent required.”

She added, “those responsible for the violence, including the use of live ammunition against demonstrators – must be promptly and transparently held accountable, in line with international human rights laws and standards.”

Liz Throssell also urged the authorities to release immediately all individuals who remain arbitrarily detained since the 25 October coup, most of whom have now been held incommunicado for more than two weeks.

She said, “our Joint UN Human Rights Office in Sudan has verified the arrest of 57 people, including Government officials, political and civil society actors, human rights defenders and journalists, since 25 October. We understand 10 of these people have since been released, but we have yet to receive a written response to our formal request for information about and access to the detainees. Access has also been denied to their lawyers and family members.”

In addition to these arbitrary detentions, hundreds of protesters have also been arrested, including, reportedly, 87 teachers. While most are held for a short time and then released, the UN Human rights spokesperson Liz Throssell said it was believed some are still being detained.

Internet and telecommunications services remain curtailed, seriously hampering the ability of people to communicate in the midst of a crisis, as well as damaging livelihoods.

She said, “Blunt measures such as blanket Internet and telecommunications shutdowns, sometimes for prolonged periods, violate the principles of necessity and proportionality and contravene international law.”

Throssell also said that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet had appointed Adama Dieng (Senegal) as an expert on human rights in the Sudan, in conformity with the recent Human Rights Council Resolution.

On DRC, she said, “the situation in Masisi and Lubero territories in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s northeastern province of North Kivu is very concerning. Land disputes among different communities have led to intercommunal violence, which in turn has fuelled the emergence of armed groups. These groups have been able to take almost total control of Masisi and Lubero, where the State’s presence is negligible and where few security forces are deployed.

Throssell also said, “the number of violations and abuses reported in Masisi and Lubero has increased steadily since 2015. Currently, more than half of the human rights violations and abuses recorded in North Kivu province take place in these two territories.”

According to information recorded by the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office in DRC (UNJHRO) and included in a report published today, armed groups perpetrated at least 2,359 human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law in Masisi and Lubero in the first 10 months of the year, up from the 801 recorded in 2020 and 756 in 2019.

The Spokesperson said, “the 2,359 abuses recorded in 2021 included, among others, 484 people summarily executed, 1,455 injured after being attacked and 354 victims of sexual violence.”

From January to October, Throssell added “the Joint Human Rights Office also recorded 966 violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by security forces in Masisi and Lubero, a significant increase from 387 registered in 2020 and 183 in 2019.”

The violations recorded this year included 111 victims of extrajudicial killings, 542 people injured and 58 victims of sexual violence.”

The Spokesperson called on the authorities to “establish prompt, impartial, independent and effective investigations into all human rights violations and abuses with a view to hold those responsible accountable. We also urge authorities to ensure that security personnel deployed to the two territories to confront the armed groups are properly trained to prevent human rights violations from occurring.”

Liz Throssell added that demobilization, disarmament and insertion programmes to support the integration of fighters into the communities should be fully and rapidly implemented. These programmes should be complementary to the transitional justice mechanisms that guarantee the right to truth, justice and reparations for victims. In parallel, authorities should establish civil administration structures to offer essential services to the local population and so prevent armed groups from filling the vacuum currently left by the State.

On Western Balkans, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights seriously is concerned with the events this week in the Serbian capital, Belgrade, where police stepped in to protect a mural of the convicted war criminal Ratko Mladic painted on a building in the city centre.

She said, “the mural in Belgrade is not an isolated incident. Posters, graffiti and other materials praising war criminals are found in other parts of Serbia, as well as in various towns in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro and elsewhere in the region.”

Throssell continued, “Symbols glorifying convicted war criminals should have no place in the public space. Such symbols are all the more concerning given the recent rise in hate speech and denial of genocide and other atrocity crimes in the Western Balkans – developments that highlight the failure to address the past.”

Liz Throssell noted that the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina was particularly worrying, where such trends are deepening divisions.

She said, “we call on the authorities in the region to abide by their international human rights obligations to ensure the rights to truth, justice and reparation, as well as to adopt measures to prevent recurrence and to promote further reconciliation efforts. We call on them to condemn and refrain from all forms of hate speech and incitement to violence and to ensure the perpetrators of such acts are held accountable.”

Liz Throssell added the UN Human Rights Office stands ready to continue offering its guidance on human rights issues to help people in the Western Balkans move forward with the transitional justice processes that are so crucial for the region’s future.
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