- Bosnia: Former Bosnian Serb Army Soldier Bosko Uncanin Pleaded Not Guilty
- Belarus: Syarhei Tsikhanouski Sentenced to 18 Years in Prison for Challenging Lukashenko
- IACHR: A Resolution to Monitor the Precautionary Measures in Favor of Indigenous Tsotsil Families in 22 Communities in Mexico
- Germany: Russian Man Convicted for a State-Contracted Killing
- Bosnia: Eight Former Bosnian Serb Soldiers Arrested for Involvement in War Crimes
- Venezuela: 210 Venezuelan State Security Officials Convicted for Human Rights Violation
- Argentina: The Case of Crimes against Rohingya Minority in Myanmar Begins
- ECtHR: Ban on Talking to Other Inmates in Ukraine Violated Convention
- Denmark: Danish Company Found Guilty of Violating EU Sanctions
- France: Muhayimana Sentenced to 14 years Over Rwanda’s 1994 Genocide
- ECtHR: The Applicant’s Removal to Morocco Would Not Entail a Violation of the Convention
- UNFPA: Agency in Need of $ 835 Million Needed for Providing Life-Saving Reproductive Health in Crisis Settings
- CAR: Action on Sexual Misconduct Stepped Up by the UN in Wake of Allegations
- UNSC: In Order to Stem War “Restraint, De-escalation, and Dialogue” is Needed in Yemen
- HRC: Humanitarian Crisis Threatens Basic Human Rights in Afghanistan
- South Sudan: Warnings Over Peace Accord
- IOM: Migrants’ Roles in Global Labour Force and Development Increases
- HRC: Investigation Set up amidst Crises in Ethiopia
- IOM: UN Migration Network Called for Collective Attention to International Migration Needs
- UNHCR: More than 100,000 People Displaced in Cameroon’s Far North Due to Clashes
- UNICEF: School Closures Must be Avoided Whenever Possible
INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE SECTION
Bosnia: Former Bosnian Serb Army Soldier Bosko Uncanin Pleaded Not Guilty
On 13 December 2021, in the Bosnian state court in Sarajevo, Bosko Uncanin pleaded not guilty after confirming that he understands the charges against him accusing him of committing a crime against humanity. The indictment alleged that all the defendants in the case, of the Bosnian Serb Army, were involved in the shooting of at least 78 Bosniak civilians next to a school building in the village of Velagici in the Kljuc municipality on 1 June 1992. They forced Bosniak civilians who were detained out of the building and shot them. Judge Vesna Jesenkovic said defendants Miljevic and Despot have already entered their pleas, while the other defendants failed to appear in court to plead. Judge Jesenkovic said that two of the summons had been returned to the court undelivered. Five of the defendants are located in Serbia. The other defendants are Ilija Krcmar, Svetislav Racic, Zeljko Bajic, Marinko Miljevic, Dragan Despot and two men with the same name, Nikola Cuk.
Belarus: Syarhei Tsikhanouski Sentenced to 18 Years in Prison for Challenging Lukashenko
On 14 December 2021, a Belarus Court has sentenced the husband of the opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya to 18 years in prison for challenging the authoritarian ruler, Alexander Lukashenko. Syarhei Tsikhanouski, 43-year-old, was arrested in 2020 as he campaigned to run for president against Lukashenko. He was charged of aiding the biggest demonstrations in the country’s modern history, inciting social hatred and organising mass unrest. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya took his place on the ballot in August’s presidential elections which further led to the accusations of vote rigging, mass street protests, and a bloody crackdown on opposition with accusations of police brutality and torture. Since then, Lukashenko has sought vengeance on his political rivals. The sentence is among the toughest punishments handed down for last year’s anti-Lukashenko protests. In the same sentencing, five supporters tried with Tsikhanouski were jailed for 14 to 16 years. Western countries denounced the sentences. An EU spokesperson called the verdicts “part of the ongoing brutal and systemic repression” in Belarus. Lukashenko has faced international condemnation for sparking a migration crisis on the borders with the EU.
IACHR: A Resolution to Monitor the Precautionary Measures in Favor of Indigenous Tsotsil Families in 22 Communities in Mexico
On 15 December 2021, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued a follow-up Resolution 102/2021 to monitor the implementation of precautionary measures granted in favor of the Tsotsil families in 22 identified communities in the municipalities Chalchihuitán, Chenalhó and Aldama in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. The IACHR had granted precautionary measures in favor of the beneficiaries in the Resolution 15/2018 of 24 February 2018 and the Resolution 35/2021 of 23 April 2021, considering that the families were in a serious and urgent situation of irreparable damage to their rights. The precautionary measures include necessary security measures to protect the life and safety of the beneficiaries and ensure the preventions of threats, intimidation and violence caused by an armed group from the municipality of Chenalhó, Chiapas in Mexico.
Germany: Russian Man Convicted for a State-Contracted Killing
On 15 December 2021, a court in Berlin sentenced a Russian man to life imprisonment for committing a murder under a “state-contracted killing”. Vadim Krasikov murdered Zelimkhan ‘Tornike’ Khangoshvili, an ethnic Chechen of Georgian nationality. The murder took place two years ago. The court found the 56-year-old Vadim Krasikov guilty of murder. Prosecutors said that the killing was an act of retaliation for Khangoshvili’s participation in the second Chechen war and his “enmity towards the Russian state”. Khangoshvili was shot dead at close range in broad daylight on 23 August 2019. Police arrested Krasikov later the same day. It was alleged by the prosecutors that Krasikov travelled to Berlin under the name of Vadim Sokolov days before the murder for a “state-contracted killing” and shot the victim with a silencer-fitted handgun and allegedly fired two more bullets into his head while the victim was on the ground. The court observed that Krasikov bore “particularly grave responsibility” for the slaying, meaning he will not be entitled to the automatic parole after 15 years that is customary in Germany. Russia’s ambassador to Germany observed the verdict to be biased, politically motivated, and one that can seriously aggravate the already difficult Russian-German relations.
Bosnia: Eight Former Bosnian Serb Soldiers Arrested for Involvement in War Crimes
On 16 December 2021, the Bosnian police arrested eight former Bosnian Serb soldiers and policemen for suspicion of involvement in crimes against the Bosniak population in the Nevesinje area during the 1992-95 conflict. State Investigation and Protection Agency police officers said that the crimes led to the killing of approximately 100 Bosniaks at a location in the village of Zijemlje. The victims who died in the killing included several dozen women and elderly people, as well as several children, including some aged between 15 days and two years. The entire Ploskic, Sipkovic, Alicic, Alibasic, Mahinic, Brajevic and Copelj families were killed in the attack. The remains of 49 people have been recovered so far while the search is underway for the remaining individuals. The arrest came in the wake of similar arrests made in the previous week. The suspects are to be handed over for further investigation. During the war in Bosnia, between the country’s Serbs, Bosniaks, and Croats around 100,000 people were killed. The war happened due to the rebellion of Bosnian Serbs against the country’s independence from the former Yugoslavia and took hold of large swaths of land, killing and expelling Bosniaks and Croats. The war came to an end in a U.S.-brokered peace agreement in 1995 but Bosnia continues to struggle in dealing with the lingering ethnic tensions.
Venezuela: 210 Venezuelan State Security Officials Convicted for Human Rights Violation
On 16 December 2021, it was reported in an information highlighted by the attorney general of Venezuela, Tarek William Saab, that based on the work done by his office in the defence of human rights in 2021, 1108 officials were charged, 820 already charged and 582 deprived of liberty preventively, for the alleged commission of this type of crime. The attorney general further informed that 158 individuals were identified for participating in crimes against human rights, 40 of them accused and 31 deprived of liberty, while the investigations are being carried out. Most of the convictions are related to human rights violations committed during protests against the government of President Nicolas Maduro between April and July 2017, which left at least 125 people dead. The attorney general further stated that the convictions of officials implicated in human rights violations would be announced. He highlighted the disposition of the Public Ministry to defend human rights and guarantee that this type of crime is not repeated in the country. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has opened an investigation into the Situation in Venezuela for alleged crimes against humanity during the protests, according to a memorandum signed in November in Caracas by ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan and President Maduro.
Argentina: The Case of Crimes against Rohingya Minority in Myanmar Begins
On 16 December 2021, a man belonging to the Myanmar’s Rohingya minority testified in a court in Argentina. The investigation with regard to alleged crimes against humanity by the Asian country’s military rulers has commenced. The court took up the case for investigation under the principle of universal jurisdiction which provides that some acts are so grave in nature that they can be tried anywhere around the world. In 2017, the army crackdown on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, which is considered a genocide by the United Nations has triggered and displaced more than 740,000 members of the community. The president of the British-based Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK ahead of the hearing said that since the situation is getting worse it is important for the international community to seek justice for the community. Other proceedings against Myanmar and its leaders are already under way at the International Criminal Court and the UN’s International Court of Justice. It is not the first time courts in Argentina have taken up cases of universal jurisdiction, having done so in relation to ex-dictator Francisco Franco’s rule in Spain and the Falun Gong movement in China.
ECtHR: Ban on Talking to Other Inmates in Ukraine Violated Convention
On 16 December 2021, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) held, unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights, and a violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) in a case concerning a ban on talking to prisoners from other cells in which Mr Karpenko, the applicant, had been held while serving his life sentence. The Court noted that at root, the conditions under which he had been held had amounted to systematic segregation. Preventing inmates from talking to each other amounted to a breach of the European Prison Rules, denying the applicant “an adequate level of human and social interaction”. The Court held that Ukraine was to pay the applicant 5,000 euros (EUR) in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 3,000 in respect of costs and expenses.
Denmark: Danish Company Found Guilty of Violating EU Sanctions
On 16 December 2021, the district court of Odense in Denmark found Danish company “Dan-Bunkering” guilty of violating the EU sanctions for supplying jet fuel to the military of Russia in Syria. The court found out that between the years 2015 and 2017, the Danish companies made 33 sales to the military of Russia. Approximately 172,000 tonnes of jet fuel were sold to the Russian military in Syria. Dan-Bunkering’s parent company – Bunker Holding – and Bunker Holding CEO Keld Demant were also found guilty of aiding the final 8 of the 33 sales. The Jet fuel was used by the Russian military for airstrikes in Syria, the impacts of which appear to include numerous civilian casualties as well as the destruction of civilian infrastructure. The majority in the Denmark Court held that all the sales done by the Den Bunkering to the military of Russia were used in Syria. The Court fined both the companies. Dan-Bunkering was fined DKK 30 million, or approximately double the profit made. Bunker Holding was fined DKK 4 million, or an amount approximately equal to the profit made from the last 8 sales. The CEO of Bunker holding was issued 4 months suspended sentence. The verdict is appealable within 14 days.
France: Muhayimana Sentenced to 14 years Over Rwanda’s 1994 Genocide
On 16 December 2021, a Court in Paris sentenced 60-years-old French-Rwandan Claude Muhayimana over complicity in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide for his involvement in transporting Hutu militiamen who massacred hundreds of Tutsis. He was found guilty of complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity. The trial took four weeks of proceedings and involved 50 witnesses. According to the investigators, Muhayimana hid Tutsis at risk of death and helped some escape, fled after the genocide and gained French nationality in 2010. Some 800,000 people died between April and July 1994 as the extremist Hutu regime tried to wipe out Rwanda’s Tutsi minority, causing one of the 20th century’s biggest massacres. During the trial, the prosecutors had sought for 15 years of imprisonment. Muhayimana was the third Rwandan genocide suspect to be tried in France, whose legal system grants universal jurisdiction for the prosecution of crimes against humanity.
ECtHR: The Applicant’s Removal to Morocco Would Not Entail a Violation of the Convention
On 16 December 2021, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) confirmed the decision of French courts on the removal of the applicant to Morocco. The ECtHR has unanimously declared the application inadmissible, on the grounds that the complaint alleging a violation of Article 8 of the Convention was manifestly unfounded. The case concerned a Moroccan applicant who is subject to a deportation order from France. He had submitted that his removal would interfere excessively with his right to respect for his private and
family life, in particular, his ties with his children, who are resident in France. The Court noted firstly that the domestic courts before which the applicant had lodged an appeal to have the deportation order annulled had specifically reviewed the proportionality of the infringement of the applicant’s right to respect for his private and family life. It further noted that, in the balancing exercise carried out by them, these courts had taken into consideration both the arguments presented by the applicant and the seriousness of his criminal convictions.
INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY SECTION
UNFPA: Agency in Need of $ 835 Million Needed for Providing Life-Saving Reproductive Health in Crisis Settings
On 13 December 2021, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) stated that life-saving sexual and reproductive health services are more vital than ever and launched an $835 million appeal to support people in crisis during 2022; and the objective is to reach more than 54 million women, girls and young people in 61 countries, amid rising needs due to conflict, the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges. The agency stated that it was critical to recognise the sexual and reproductive health services are not secondary to other forms of emergency services; they are lifesaving and now as the world is grappling with multiple overlapping catastrophes they are more vital than ever. According to UNFPA’s latest annual humanitarian report, for a third year in row, Yemen is the country with the greatest needs and required some $100 million in urgent support; while recent estimates reveal that every two hours, a woman there dies in childbirth, and a million pregnant and breastfeeding women are acutely malnourished. The report lists Syria as the country with second greatest need for humanitarian funding for sexual and reproductive health services. More than $68 million is required in Syria for services that include gender-based violence protection and response, and also to provide essential commodities such as dignity kits containing menstrual pads, soap and warm winter clothing. The agency stated that it has supported millions of people worldwide over and wherever possible the assistance is not deployed “top-down” in communities but rather delivered through partnerships with local women and young people. So far, UNFPA has reached nearly 30 million women with sexual and reproductive health services in 2021. More than 4.3 million adolescents and young people also received services tailored specifically to them. The UN agency has also assisted in over 1.5 million safe deliveries, supported family planning services for another six million people, and ensured more than 2.4 million survivors of gender-based violence received psychosocial support, legal assistance and livelihood training.
CAR: Action on Sexual Misconduct Stepped Up by the UN in Wake of Allegations
On 13 December 2021, Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson reported on action by the UN mission in the Central African Republic, MINUSCA, and engagement with troop-contributing countries in New York. The UN has been continuously taking steps to address allegations of sexual misconduct by peacekeepers in the Central African Republic (CAR) in the wake of the repatriation of Gabonese troops three months ago. In mid-September, the UN has announced that all Gabonese military units deployed to the CAR were being immediately repatriated following credible reports of alleged abuse of five girls. Deputy Spokesperson stated that since the allegations have come to light, the Office on Internal Oversight Services and the Gabonese authorities have collected evidence which would allow the Gabonese authorities to complete their investigations and inform the UN of its outcome. The UN Mission is also looking towards ways to address gaps in assistance, like a project to provide victims with medical, mental health, psychosocial, legal, and material support, is currently under review. The UN mission has also deployed teams to several remote locations in the CAR and has further gathered information regarding more recently reported allegations of sexual misconduct involving ‘blue helmets’. Meanwhile, constructive exchanges continue between the UN and countries which contribute troops and police officers to peacekeeping missions; furthermore, senior leaders at UN Headquarters in New York have stepped up engagement with other peacekeeping missions, and with other countries contributing uniformed personnel to MINUSCA. The UN official stated that this is to ensure that matters related to sexual exploitation and abuse are addressed, victims are supported, and prevention is strengthened, further stating that they are strongly engaged with troop and police-contributing countries to ensure that vetting and selection of their peacekeeping personnel strictly meet the UN standards of conduct.
UNSC: In Order to Stem War “Restraint, De-escalation, and Dialogue” is Needed in Yemen
On 14 December 2021, Hans Grundberg, Special Envoy told the UNSC that Yemen is teetering on a new “fragmented and bloody” chapter of war as military escalation and conflict escalates, he further expressed alarm over an increased use of artillery, missiles and airstrikes which have put people, infrastructure and services at a greater risk. He pointed towards the summary execution of ten local security force members and reminded that wars should still be subject to rules of engagement. He said that as conflict in Yemen intensifies all conflict actors have obligations under international humanitarian law which also includes protecting civilians and treating prisoners of war humanely. He further stated that he has been engaging with Yemenis on “how to reverse the current escalatory trajectory and start a political process”, and establishing “close and trustworthy relations” with States in the region, to move peace talks forward. According to the Special Envoy piecemeal solutions can only provide temporary relief, and further stressed the need to address immediate needs and priorities towards “a comprehensive political settlement”. Furthermore, for working towards just and sustainable peace there is need of coordinated international and regional support in order to construct a “Yemeni owned and internationally-supported political process” which will result in broader stability. The process should de-escalate violence, prevent further economic deterioration and mitigate the impact of the conflict on civilians while building consensus on a political settlement to sustainably end the war, establish inclusive governance, and ensure Yemenis’ civil, political, economic and cultural rights. The UN official underscored that while intensified fighting was a challenge, it should not be allowed to stop the process and it makes the work that is being done by the organisation all the more essential. He called for the Council’s support to “establish an inclusive, comprehensive process for bringing this conflict, finally, to a just and sustainable end”. Ramesh Rajasingham, Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator reminded that Yemen still requires “a massive humanitarian response” at least through next year, saying, “we aren’t there yet”. He called upon everyone to “do more to help Yemen put an end to this crisis for good”, and pushed for the implementation of the UN economic framework in parallel with the humanitarian response while moving towards a political solution as quickly as possible.
HRC: Humanitarian Crisis Threatens Basic Human Rights in Afghanistan
On 14 December 2021, while briefing the UN Human Rights Council, Nada Al-Nashif, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights detailed how the profound humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan is threatening basic rights, with women, girls, and civil society among those most affected. She stated that how the de facto authorities and international community address the drastic economic and humanitarian crises in Afghanistan will determine Afghans’ enjoyment of human rights, now and into the future, which will mark the difference between potential lives of dignity and well being or accelerating deprivation, injustice and tragic loss of life. The situation the country has been further compounded by the impact of sanctions and the freezing of State assets. The Deputy high Commissioner reported that although fighting has receded since August, when the Taliban took over, Afghan civilians still remain at a risk of conflict as the Islamic State Khorasan Province(ISIL-KP) and other armed groups are still carrying out lethal attacks, further mentioning that as Afghans struggle to meet basic needs, they are being pushed to take desperate measures, including child labour and child marriage. She was also deeply concerned about the continued risk of child recruitment, particularly boys, by both ISIL-KP and the de facto authorities. Children also continue to comprise the majority of civilians killed and injured by unexploded ordnance. Meanwhile, women and girls face great uncertainty when it comes to respecting their rights to education, livelihoods and participation. Some 4.2 million young Afghans are already out of school, 60 per cent of them girls. Moreover, the disintegrating Afghan economy is making it difficult for people to get enough to eat, the World Food Programme (WFP) stated. The UN agency urgently needs $220 million a month in 2022 as it ramps up operations to provide food and cash assistance to more than 23 million Afghans facing severe hunger, with the agency having already assisted 15 million people across all 34 provinces in the country so far this year, reaching some seven million in November alone, up from four million in September.
South Sudan: Warnings Over Peace Accord
On 15 December 2021, the UN special representative in South Sudan, Nicholas Haysom issued a warning to the UN Security Council that the new “headwinds” could threatens the country’s fragile peace accord, following years of brutal civil conflict. Mr. Haysom called on parties to muster a renewed sense of political will and build trust, to avoid a state of paralysis, and a collapse of peace agreement in worst case scenario. Since Sudan got its independence ten years ago, it has been faced with instability and conflict. The president and former vice president of the country signed the agreement with Riek Machar hoping to end crisis in the country. The special representative accordingly argued that the steps taken so far in the implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement are welcome. He however noted that they were not sufficient. The establishment of the Necessary Unified Forces, which the representative called “an initial step in a complex but essential process of constructing a national army”, poses a challenge. Mr. Haysom warned Council members that civilians still bear the brunt of the conflict, “perpetuating cycles of trauma and revenge that undermines the prospects of long-term reconciliation and societal healing. With regards to the humanitarian situation, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs state that South Sudanese are facing the highest levels of food insecurity since independence. According to analysis, over 7 million people were estimated to be at crisis phase of which 2.4 million are at emergency phase while over 100 million people globally in six countries face catastrophic levels of acute food insecurity; this includes the malnourishment of children and pregnant women.
IOM: Migrants’ Roles in Global Labour Force and Development Increases
On 16 December 2021, new report from the IOM Global Migration Data Analysis Centre showed that the number of migrants in the labour force worldwide has tripled. The 2021 Global Migration Indicators (GMI) which provides an access point of statistics and information on migration data shows the important role played by migrant workers in development in many low and middle income countries. IOM’s Deputy Director General for operations said that the availability of timely and reliable data can help minimize the potential of migration for development. He also stated that many of the challenges faced people on the move daily, especially those most vulnerable persons. This report highlights the Contributions migrants have in our communities and economies and needs for concrete actions to increase legal channels. The report lunched on 16 December contains information about migrant workers, future migration needs amongst other topics in migration. It highlights the increasing demand for migrant labour and according to the available data from the Organization for Economic and Co-operation and Development (OECD), foreign doctors account for good percentage in the United Kingdom. Globally, there is an exponential increase in the number of migrant workers and the number triples what was obtainable in 2010. The IOM GMDAC Director stated that as the world celebrated migration day, the report was clear reminder of the role of migrants in the development of their communities worldwide. He also added that while the global economies continue to rely heavily on migrant workers, people continue to feel terrible risks when they cannot access legal pathways in search for better opportunities. Reports reveal a policy towards increasingly restrictive migration policies since at least the 1990s. The evidence Migration Governance Indicator (MGI) echoes this. The Migration Data Portal received above 2 million unique page views and over 1.3 million users as well as supports from the by member States.
HRC: Investigation Set up amidst Crises in Ethiopia
On 17 December 2021, the Human Rights Council agreed that serious concerns over alleged human rights violation and abuses in Ethiopia should be investigated by an international probe. Delegates who attended the special session were told that every 10th person in the region requires humanitarian assistance. A certain percentage of the Council members must support before a special session. The commissioner for human rights noted that over 400,000 in Tigre were living in famine-like conditions. The Deputy High Commissioner called on warring sides to respect international calls for a cease fire stating that millions of people continue being displaced across the regions due to the conflict. According to a Resolution draft before the council, to establish an international commission of human rights experts on Ethiopia, the new probe should include three human rights experts appointed by the president of the council. The international inquiry work will complement that already undertaken by the Joint Investigating Team involving the UN Human rights office and the European Human rights Commission. There was a mass arrest of people believed to be sympathizers of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) while thousands of Tigrayan have been detained alongside dozens of journalists and UN staff. She added that while some of those arrested over 6 weeks have been released, thousands more including UN staff continue being detained while in some situation, the matter has turned to a case of enforced disappearance and thus calls for concern. The Deputy High Commissioner encouraged all parties to participate in a meaningful and inclusive dialogue through National Dialogue Commission and in the context of the African Union Mediation efforts, while the government of Ethiopia on the other hand rejected the Council proceeding as politically motivated interference. Ambassador Zenebe Kebede said that the pillage, destruction of property, rape, sexual abuse and use of child soldiers by the rebel forces have not been condemned by the Geneva-based body while describing the TPLF as a terrorist group. The Ethiopian representative maintained that the Tigrayan Separatists have destroyed properties but the initiators of the special session would care less.
IOM: UN Migration Network Called for Collective Attention to International Migration Needs
On 17 December 2021, the United Nations Network on Migration called on the international community to strengthen collective action to protect migrants’ lives, reduce their vulnerabilities and maximize the benefits of safe, orderly and regular migration. the Network recalled the spirit of solidarity and international cooperation underpinning the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) recognizing that no state can address migration alone as the international community prepares for the first International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) at the United Nations General Assembly next May. While all states are encouraged to make concrete commitments ahead of the forum, in pursuit of the GCM objectives grounded in its principles, greater collective action is needed to address the ongoing human cost of policies and practices that continue to place migrants in situations of vulnerability as many migrants continue to lose their lives and many forcibly returned without due regard to their rights, safety, and well-being; many, especially those who are undocumented, have been denied access to basic healthcare, including COVID-19 vaccinations, testing and treatment while many are stranded. The Director-General of the International Organization for Migration and Coordinator of the UN Network on Migration stated that COVID-19-related border closures and the attendant economic crisis have led to extensive job losses for migrant workers globally and this affects workers and this affects women greatly because of their status. He added that the current politicization of migration and dehumanization of migrants, seen in many contexts the world over, fuels xenophobia, undermining our commitment to building more resilient, inclusive societies and making a stronger multilateral system. The UN the UN Network on Migration urges states and all stakeholders to step up international cooperation and strengthen global, regional, bilateral, national and local partnerships for safe, orderly and regular migration by 7 ways adumbrated by which this could be done.
UNHCR: More than 100,000 People Displaced in Cameroon’s Far North Due to Clashes
On 17 December 2021, the UNHCR stated that inter-communal clashes that erupted in Cameroon’s Far North region in the past two weeks have driven at least 100,000 people from their homes, although the real number maybe much higher. The agency further estimates that more than 85,000 people have fled into neighbouring Chad in recent days, while at least 15,000 Cameroonians have been forced from their home inside the country. The displacement into Chad has accelerated fast and as the total is nearly triple the figure reported last week when 30,000 people had crossed the border seeking safety. Casualties from fighting have also risen to 44 people killed and 111 injured, compared to 22 dead and 30 wounded reported last week; in total, 112 villages were burned down. The vast majority of new arrivals in Chad are children, and 98 per cent of the adults are women. Some 48,000 have found refuge in 18 urban sites in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad, and 37,000 people are scattered across 10 rural sites along Chad’s bank of the Logone River. Along with the authorities, UNHCR, other UN agencies and humanitarian partners are rushing to deliver life-saving assistance. The agency has declared a Level 2 emergency and is rapidly scaling its operations to assist affected people in Cameroon and new refugees in Chad. The UN refugee agency is calling for the support of international community to assist forcibly displaced and has reiterated its call for reconciliation to end violence so that people can return home safely. Chad is home to nearly one million refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) and Cameroon to more than 1.5 million refugees and IDPS. The financial resources for responding to the situation in both countries remains critically low and the requirements of UNHCR for 2021 in Cameroon (US $ 99.6 million) and Chad (US $ 141 million) are only 52 percent and 54 percent funded respectively.
UNICEF: School Closures Must be Avoided Whenever Possible
On 17 December 2021, UNICEF Executive Director stated that as COVID-19 cases are spiking all over the world and despite there has been a rise in highly transmissible Omicron variant “nationwide school closures should be avoided whenever possible”, further stating that another wave of widespread school closures would be disastrous for children. For the UNICEF Executive Director “the evidence is clear” and further prolonged, nationwide school closures, resulting in limited resources for students, teachers and parents – and lack of access to remote learning – would have serious consequences. She also stated that these closures have wiped out decades of progress that has been made in education and have rendered childhood unrecognisable Beyond lost learning, the UNICEF chief said, children have also become less safe by being excluded from a school environment, missing out on daily in-person interactions with friends, access to healthcare, and, too often, their only nutritious meal of the day. The UNICEF Chief addressed how to solve this challenge and stated that “mitigation measures in school are effective and that authorities must use this knowledge to do everything to keep schools open. Further calling upon Member States to “increase investments in digital connectivity to make sure that no child is left behind”. She concluded by saying that “2022 cannot be yet another year of disrupted learning, and needs to be the year that education and the best interest of children, take precedence.