News in Brief (AM) – Geneva

Appeal for calm in Central African Republic amid escalating violence

A deadly escalation of violence in Central African Republic has prompted the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) to appeal for restraint.

The call follows a spate of recent incidents in the north of the country, where a transitional government is in place, after years of clashes between Muslim Seleka and Christian anti-Balaka militias.

Here’s Ravina Shamdasani from the UN Human Rights Office:

“We call upon all armed groups and political leaders, as well as those with influence over them in the country, to ensure that there is no further escalation in violence. There must be individual, judicial accountability for those responsible for the violence over the past month. We appeal to all armed groups to participate fully in the Disarmament, Demobilization, Reintegration and Rehabilitation process that is a crucial step towards lasting peace in the country.”

Earlier this week in the town of Kaga Bandoro, hundreds of ex-Seleka members attacked a camp for internally displaced people (IDPs).

A UN peacekeepers’ base was also targeted, and a total of 18 people died, along with 12 ex-Seleka members.

Cholera surge feared in Haiti’s devastated south

Concern is growing over a surge in cholera cases in Haiti, amid reports that Hurricane Matthew has destroyed or caused massive damage to essential treatment facilities there.

The disease has claimed more than 9,000 lives in the Caribbean island since 2010.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), up to 75 per cent of cholera treatment facilities have been destroyed or damaged in two of the island’s worst-affected southern departments.

That’s left a risk of a “drastic” increase in infections, WHO warns, amid reports of more than 470 suspected cases of cholera in the south in the last four days alone.

Meanwhile, the scale of the destruction left by Hurricane Matthew is still being uncovered.

Here’s the UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) Yvonne Helle, speaking on the phone from Haiti:

“I have never seen anything like this, it is as if whole towns have been erased. We see not only most houses and buildings have been wiped off the map or seriously damaged, but also we see very old fruit trees that have disappeared, almost the entire crop that has disappeared. So people are devastated.”

Latest reports indicate that more than 470 died in the October the 4th hurricane, which also displaced some 170,000 people and left a total of 1.4 million people in need of help.

Yemen deportations “creating migrant crisis” in Horn of Africa

And finally, reports are emerging that hundreds of migrants are being sent back from Yemen to the Horn of Africa state of Djibouti.

The development was highlighted on Friday by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

It says that up to 8,000 mainly Ethiopians could be detained in Yemen, and that the forced returns may be linked to the belief that migrants have been fighting for armed groups in the Arabian peninsula state.

IOM says it has been overwhelmed by the returns from Yemen, as it only has a small shelter in in Djibouti’s port town of Obock.

IOM’s Jeffrey Labovitz said that almost all of the migrants forcibly returned from Yemen are male, and many are children as young as 11:

“Suddenly we have a splurge in numbers; first what we started seeing were people coming sick with acute watery diarrheathe second thing we started to see were boats returning from Yemen and we had three boats and several hundred people deported.”

It’s estimated that around 100,000 Ethiopians are in Yemen at any one time; according to IOM, explaining that the country is seen as a stepping-stone to work in Saudi Arabia.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 3’37”

Source: United Nations Radio.