Africa 

Former LRA leader, ex-child soldier, sentenced to 25 years in prison

Dominic Ongwen, 45, was found guilty of 61 charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including rape, murder and sexual enslavement, committed in Northern Uganda between July 2002 and 31 December.  In summarizing the decision to sentence him, Presiding Judge Bertram Schmitt highlighted the unique nature of the case.  Victim and perpetrator  “The Chamber is confronted in the present case with a unique situation. It is confronted with a perpetrator who willfully and lucidly brought tremendous suffering upon his victims”, he said.  “However, it is also confronted with a…

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Africa 

FROM THE FIELD: Uganda conflict survivor helps communities find ‘ways forward’

As many as 25,000 children were abducted as soldiers and forced labourers, as the Ugandan government fought a civil war with the LRA from the 1980s onwards. Okello Tito says he was “one of the lucky ones” because he was not kidnapped or killed, even though his family did have to flee their home in the middle of the night after rebels set it alight. Today, he works as a community leader in northern Uganda, the epicentre of the conflict. Where he spends his time “calming people down, negotiating, finding…

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Africa 

Latest deadly Ebola virus outbreak in DR Congo declared over

The virus – an often-fatal illness spread through contact with bodily fluids, which kills, on average, around half of those infected – re-emerged in February, nine months after another outbreak in the same province was declared over. Heartfelt congratulations to the people of #DRC🇨🇩 for ending the latest #Ebola outbreak! Huge credit to the expertise of local health workers & the national authorities for their prompt response, tenacity & hard work. https://t.co/d7f599RrAV — Dr Matshidiso Moeti (@MoetiTshidi) May 3, 2021 In a press release, WHO congratulated the health authorities in…

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Africa 

Chad: UN rights office profoundly disturbed over violence against protesters

Six people were reportedly killed and several wounded in the capital, N’Djamena, on Tuesday – and in the second largest city, Moundou, Marta Hurtado, spokesperson for OHCHR, told the regular press briefing in Geneva.  And while more than 700 people have been arrested, it is not clear how many are still in detention.  Respect human rights With further protests and general strikes due to take place in the coming days, Ms. Hurtado said that Chad remains “bound by its obligations” under international human rights law to “protect and respect human rights”, including the right…

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Africa 

Ethiopia: ‘Unpredictable security’ in Tigray, hindering aid delivery

Nearly six months since the conflict between Ethiopian Government security forces and regional forces of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) began in early November, most rural areas have remained cut off from communications and electricity, impacting access to health services, water supply and vital assistance, said Farhan Haq.   Meanwhile, he cited the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in saying that the UN and its humanitarian partners “continue to scale up their response, including identification and support to gender-based violence survivors”.   In #Tigray, Ethiopia, aid workers continue…

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Africa 

Madagascar edges toward famine, UN food agency appeals for assistance

And with acute malnutrition rates continuing to rise, urgent action is required to address this unfolding humanitarian crisis, the World Food Programme (WFP) warned.  “If we don’t reverse this crisis, if we don’t get food to the people in the south of Madagascar, families will starve and lives will be lost”, Amer Daoudi, WFP’s Senior Director of Operations, said, after visiting one of the worst affected areas, Sihanamaro.  Evolving catastrophe  Most districts in the South are in the throes of a nutrition emergency with Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) levels in…

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Africa 

370,000 children displaced in Central African Republic; highest level since 2014

At least 168,000 children were forced to flee their homes following widespread violence and insecurity in the run-up to the general election of last December, and during its aftermath. Around 70,000 of them have not been able to return. This brings the total to 370,000 internally displaced children across the country. Displaced children are at risk of exposure to sexual and physical violence, recruitment to armed forces and groups, increasing rates of malnutrition and limited access to essential services. Recruitment by armed forces Recruitment and use of children by armed…

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Africa 

Somalia: UN condemns violence, warns against escalation of fighting

According to media reports, fighting began on Sunday between pro-Government forces and opposition military units after President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed moved to extend his term last week, which had officially ended in February, for another two years. Reports from Mogadishu said that localized skirmishes have spread to other parts of the country, with fears growing that extremist group al Shabaab could exploit the divisions. “We have repeatedly warned that the extension of mandates would lead to a political crisis and undermine peace, stability and security in Somalia”, the statement read.…

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Africa 

Despite pandemic, UN mission in Abyei continues to provide vital assistance

Jean-Pierre Lacroix, head of UN Peacekeeping, briefed ambassadors on recent developments concerning the oil-rich border area, where the UN interim security force, UNISFA, has been deployed since 2011 to protect civilians and humanitarians. “The six-month reporting period was marked by continued rapprochement between the Sudan and South Sudan”, Mr. Lacroix said, noting however, that the rapprochement “did not translate into significant improvements on the ground”, where the security situation remains tense. He also informed the Council members that there had been “modest progress” towards the benchmarks set out in Security…

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