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World News in Brief: Peacekeeper killed in CAR, Sudan war update, media clampdown in Kyrgyzstan

Five other ‘blue helmets’ were injured during the attack which happened when their vehicle hit an explosive device in Mbindali, in Ouham-Pendé Prefecture, northwest of Paoua.

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“The Secretary-General offers his sincere condolences to the family of the victim and to the Government of Cameroon and wishes a speedy recovery to the wounded”, said UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric, in a statement on Tuesday.

The head of MINUSCA, Valentine Rugwabiza, “strongly condemned” the attack on social platform X, adding that improvised explosive devices constitute “one of the most fatal threats to the protection of civilians, the delivery of humanitarian aid and activities populations in the affected areas.”

Possible war crime

The UN chief recalled that any attacks targeting United Nations peacekeepers “may constitute war crimes under international law.”

He called on authorities in CAR “to spare no effort in identifying the perpetrators of this attack” and for justice to be swiftly served.

“The Secretary-General reaffirms the solidarity of the United Nations with the people and Government of the Central African Republic”, the statement concluded.

Rights office urges Sudan ceasefire as conflict reaches 9 month mark

The UN human rights chief Volker Türk on Tuesday called on the rival militaries in Sudan to lay down their weapons immediately. 

It’s been nine months since heavy fighting erupted between the Sudanese army, under the control of the ruling military government in Khartoum, and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces. More than 7.4 million have been displaced inside the country.

That number increased by 611,000 in just the last month, as conflict uprooted communities from Aj Jazirah and other states.

On behalf of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said that the conflict has had a devastating impact in terms of numbers killed amid “ongoing concerns” about sexual violence and many other human rights violations.

She said Mr. Türk had been “very clear in his call to all parties to cease hostilities and to ensure the protection of civilians, to take all feasible precautions, to minimize, in any case, harm, including attacks on civilians and civilian objects, to release all those who are arbitrarily detained, to immediately cease the use of landmines and other explosive ordnance that is clearly prohibited.”

Humanitarians have expressed alarm that the fighting has extended into central and eastern Sudan as these are the country’s main crop producing regions.

Insecurity, looting, bureaucratic impediments, poor network and phone connectivity, together with a lack of cash, and limited technical and humanitarian staff, are all hindering aid delivery, said UN coordination office, OCHA.

OHCHR concerned over media clampdown in Kyrgyzstan

The UN human rights office (OHCHR) expressed concern on Tuesday over a series of raids carried out by security forces in Kyrgyzstan on independent media outlets.

Around 14 journalists from the organisations were temporarily detained for questioning, said Spokesperson Liz Throssell.

Women farmers work in a field in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
© FAO/Vyacheslav Oseledko

Women farmers work in a field in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Officers from the State Committee for National Security (SCNS) arrived at the news agency 24.kg in Bishkek on Monday, then seized equipment and detained three journalists for several hours, including its editor-in-chief.

And on Tuesday, the Ministry of Interior searched several other independent media organisations and detained 11 journalists and media workers for questioning, Ms. Throssell told reporters at a briefing in Geneva. 

“These latest actions by the authorities appear to be part of a larger pattern of pressure against civil society activists, journalists and other critics of the authorities”, she said.

Arrest or detention, as punishment for the legitimate exercise of human rights, including freedom of expression, is forbidden under international human rights law.

The spokesperson said that in this context, “it is all the more concerning that the Kyrgyz Parliament is considering a draft law on mass media, which would restrict the right to freedom of expression which includes media freedom.”

OHCHR is calling on the authorities to protect freedom of expression and ensure that media legislation in the country is in line with international human rights standards.

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