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World News in Brief: Rising West Bank violence, dialogue critical in Kosovo, free detained Afghan activist

Stability in the West Bank is vital to the prospects of peace in Gaza, UN Special Coordinator Tor Wennesland said over the weekend, warning against further escalation. He also said civilian attacks, including settler violence, need to end.

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Meanwhile, the new Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Muhannad Hadi, visited Gaza for the first time on Sunday since taking up the post earlier in April. 

“He saw firsthand the catastrophic situation in Gaza and how the ongoing hostilities are affecting people,” Mr. Dujarric said. 

Mr. Hadi visited sites in Khan Younis and Deir Al-Balah, including a shelter for displaced people and a health centre, and spoke with members of the community.

He also spent the night in Rafah, where 1.4 million people are sheltering in dire living conditions, lacking basic necessities, including water, food, shelter and healthcare. 

UN partners were able to provide hot meals, bread and flour to people in Gaza last week, with support from the World Food Programme (WFP). 

Further, two emergency medical teams have been positioned in northern Gaza to support Kamal Adwan and Al Awda hospitals. 

Good faith dialogue critical to move forward in Kosovo

The UN Special Representative in Kosovo has highlighted the importance of open communication and dialogue in resolving long-standing issues between Belgrade and Pristina and between Kosovo Serb communities and the Pristina authorities.

Caroline Ziadeh, who also heads the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), delivered her biennial briefing to the Security Council in New York on Monday.

“One of the key common observations is dissatisfaction with the level of progress being achieved through political dialogue and the direct effects this has upon the security situation. The level of mistrust unfortunately remains high and must be addressed,” she said.

Ms. Ziadeh reported on recent setbacks that hamper efforts to build trust among Kosovo’s ethnic communities through political dialogue. 

She underlined the importance of the full implementation of the European Union-facilitated agreements and for the sides to remain committed to constructive engagement and finding practical compromises.

“Good faith dialogue, communication and mutual understanding mark the path forward. Progress is born from actions undertaken with the willingness to forge compromises,” she said.   

Afghanistan: Rights experts call for release of detained activist

Seven independent UN experts are calling for the immediate release of Afghan human rights defender Ahmad Fahim Azimi, who has been detained for more than six months. 

Mr. Azimi was imprisoned on 17 October by the de facto authorities along with his colleague Siddiqullah Afghan, who was recently released. 

In addition to being a human rights defender, Mr. Azimi advocates for girls’ education and is the head of the Better Thinking Centre and director of the Digital Citizen Lab in Afghanistan. 

The experts have been communicating with the Afghan authorities regarding this case.  

“We urge the de facto authorities to also release Mr. Azimi without delay. There is no justification for his detention,” they said. 

The experts also expressed concern over the arrests of multiple human rights defenders and education activists in Afghanistan, seemingly for their advocacy for women and girls’ education.

“Access to education is a fundamental right. It is essential that those who strive to expand this right are supported and protected, not persecuted,” they said.

The experts were appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and report on specific country situations or thematic issues.

They serve in their individual capacity, are not UN staff, are independent of any government or organization and are not compensated for their work. 

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