UN Rights Office Alarmed at Uptick in Violence Ahead of Central African Republic Elections

GENEVA – The United Nations human rights office warns the increase in violence ahead of Sunday’s elections in the Central African Republic presents serious risks to the civilian population and threatens to disrupt the electoral process. U.N. officials say escalating violence is creating mayhem in the Central African Republic and could scare people away from the polls. The U.N. office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates at least 55,000 people have been forcibly displaced within Central African Republic and an unknown number of other people reportedly have sought safety…

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Activists Demand Police Release Prominent Ugandan Human Rights Lawyer

KAMPALA, UGANDA – Ugandan rights activists are calling on authorities to release human rights lawyer Nicholas Opio, who was arrested Tuesday on allegations of money laundering. Supporters say Opio is being persecuted for his activism. A group of lawyers and activists went to the Special Investigative Unit of the Ugandan police Wednesday to demand access to Opio and to ask police to release him. Opio, who is executive director of Chapter Four Uganda, a human rights organization, was arrested Tuesday with two other colleagues at a restaurant in Kampala. According…

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Rights Groups Sound Alarm Over Safety of Eritrean Refugees in Ethiopia

Humanitarian organizations are sounding the alarm on the safety of Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia’s Tigray region as reports of attacks and forced deportations emerge. Approximately 96,000 Eritrean refugees lived in four camps in Tigray prior to the conflict which erupted in November. Many fled the violence to Sudan or to other parts of the country including the capital Addis Ababa. According to Refugees International, an independent advocacy group, Eritreans are being rounded up and returned to war-torn Tigray or are being deported to their homeland. “There’s a lot of concern…

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UN Sends Millions in Humanitarian Aid to Ethiopia

The United Nations said Thursday that it had mobilized $35.6 million to aid those affected by the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. Some 50,000 people from the region have fled to neighboring Sudan and tens of thousands have been internally displaced since fighting broke out last month. The U.N. said some of the money would go to aiding refugees in Sudan, while the rest would reach those in need in Tigray itself. “Conflicts like this are hard to stop once they get out of control, the lives they extinguish cannot…

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Human Rights Issues Cloud France’s Dealings With Egypt

PARIS – Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Monday to boost economic and military ties with France. The dealings present a dilemma for the French government in light of Egypt’s poor human rights record. In January 2019, el-Sissi and Macron met in Cairo, where the French president said that Egypt was not headed in “the right direction” on human rights. Ahead of Monday’s meeting, several NGOs issued a statement pressing Macron to take a strong stand on the issue. Their statement said that…

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Closed Tigray Humanitarian Corridor Puts UN Aid Operation in Limbo

GENEVA – United Nations agencies say they cannot help tens of thousands of civilians suffering because of the Tigray conflict until Ethiopia opens a humanitarian corridor to allow aid into the region. The United Nations and Ethiopia reached an agreement Wednesday to grant aid agencies unimpeded access to the beleaguered area. It has yet to be implemented, though, and the hoped-for humanitarian corridor to Tigray opened. The World Health Organization says its staff is on standby and ready to be deployed as soon as the situation permits. WHO spokesman Tarik…

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West and Central Africa: Weekly Regional Humanitarian Snapshot (25 Nov – 02 December 2020)

REGIONAL LAUNCH OF THE GLOBAL HUMANITARIAN OVERVIEW 2021 The UN and partner organizations aim to help 160 million people most in need across 56 countries next year, which will require $35 billion. The Global Humanitarian Overview for 2021 highlights an increase by 40% of people in need worldwide, with a record 235 million people requiring humanitarian assistance and protection. Violent conflict, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated vulnerabilities globally. In West and central Africa, the number of people in need has increased by 35%, with over 60 million…

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Humanitarian Crisis Grips Ethiopia’s Restive Tigray Region

GENEVA – United Nations aid agencies report Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region is in a worsening humanitarian crisis, as fighting intensifies and thousands continue to flee to neighboring countries. Protection of Ethiopian civilians and Eritrean refugees is a major concern, with human rights monitors warning the weeklong fighting between Ethiopian federal forces and Tigray regional security forces could spin out of control. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says humanitarian aid to more than 2 million people in the region has been disrupted. It says security concerns are…

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