World News in Brief: Concern mounts over fate of El Fasher, call for consensus over South Sudan elections, indigenous rights in Brazil

World News in Brief: Concern mounts over fate of El Fasher, call for consensus over South Sudan elections, indigenous rights in Brazil

Residential areas, markets, hospitals and sites holding displaced people are all being impacted, he told reporters at the daily briefing in New York.

As many as 329,000 people were displaced during the past three months from the last remaining city under Government control in Darfur, according to the UN migration agency (IOM).

Civilians must be protected and those fleeing the fighting must be afforded safe passage, said Mr. Dujarric.

“It is critical that the parties de-escalate to prevent further suffering for civilians and to enable the unimpeded delivery of life-saving assistance”, he stressed.

Response continues

“Meanwhile, we and our partners continue our efforts to respond to those needs, including by trying to get health kits to areas around El Fasher, including in gathering sites for civilians.”  

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is also strengthening nutrition support at displacement sites in El Fasher, as well as the towns of Tawila and Dar As Salam in North Darfur state.

Conflict is also intensifying in Sennar state – close to the border with Ethiopia – causing further civilian suffering and more serious rights violations, UN humanitarians have warned.

According to the UN aid coordination office (OCHA), more than 136,000 people have been displaced as clashes between the rival Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia spread across the state.

Civilians are facing multiple protection risks, including widespread looting. Reports indicate that the RSF has occupied Sinja Teaching Hospital, using patients and staff as human shields and disrupting medical services.

Forced displacement has spread to neighbouring states including Gedaref, Blue Nile and Kassala, where humanitarian partners are scaling up their response. But aid teams have warned that the rainy season has begun and conditions at displacement sites are dire.

OCHA is already working with state authorities and humanitarian partners to address the crisis. But it warned that the situation is getting worse as protection concerns grow, with civilians reporting looting of shops and markets, leaving them without basic needs.

UN Mission in South Sudan calls for consensus on electoral roadmap

The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) published a joint statement on Thursday urging the parties to the long-delayed peace agreement “to reach consensus” on the best way forward for holding free and fair elections across the world’s youngest nation.

UNMISS, the African Union Mission in South Sudan, and the regional bloc known as the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) began their statement by congratulating the country on its 13th anniversary of independence.

But they urged the Government and political rivals who six years ago signed the so-called Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict to “provide clarity on the electoral roadmap.”

Reflect ‘will of the electorate’

They noted the numerous different positions being adopted and expressed on transition measures, saying that while it was “the sovereign prerogative” of South Sudanese leaders to decide, the pathway to successful elections must happen “in accordance with agreed processes, procedures, and timelines.”

National elections are due to be held in December but there is no agreement yet on the basic ground rules for moving forward.

Hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese died and millions were displaced during the 2013-18 war between Government forces and rival militia but although some issues have been resolved, many remain outstanding.

The AU mission, IGAD and UNMISS appeal for everyone to work collectively: “In this regard, the partners reiterate their full support for all efforts to ultimately deliver peaceful, free, fair, and credible elections that reflect the will of the electorate.”

Rights expert calls on Brazil to protect indigenous rights amid controversial new law

The UN is calling on the Brazilian Supreme Court and Senate to protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples to lands, territories and natural resources.

UN Human Rights Council-appointed independent rights expert José Francisco Calí Tzay is urging immediate action to suspend the new law that can dispossess or evict indigenous communities.

Mr. Calí Tzay praised the Brazilian Supreme Court for rejecting the ‘Marco Temporal’ doctrine that requires Indigenous Peoples to prove they were occupying their lands on October 5, 1988.

But he said he was very concerned over the hasty passage of the new law by Congress that effectively brings back the doctrine.

Beyond the bounds

The rights expert argued that the law goes against international human rights standards that protect indigenous rights without time limits.

He stressed the importance of indigenous lands for biodiversity and climate balance and warned that mining, gold exploitation and cattle breeding can cause significant environmental damage.

He also called on the Supreme Court to suspend the law until it’s declared constitutional.

Special Rapporteurs and other Human Rights Council-appointed rights experts are independent of any government, receive no salary for their work and serve in their individual capacity.

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