News in Brief 24 March 2017 – Geneva (AM)

Myanmar violations to face international inquiry

An international probe has been set up to investigate rights abuses against Muslim communities in Myanmar.

The decision was taken at the Human Rights Council on Friday.

It follows what the UN human rights office described as "unprecedented" violence in Rakhine state in October, allegedly involving abuses by government forces.

The victims, Rohingya Muslims, reported gang rape on a massive scale and the killing of babies and children, among other atrocities.

The resolution adopted at the Geneva body calls on the government of Myanmar to cooperate with the fact-finding mission that's to be dispatched to the country.

Myanmar's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Htin Lynn, rejected the proposal, saying that a national commission of inquiry was already working hard to release a report on the allegations.

"Myanmar disassociates itself from the resolution HRC 34/L8 Rev1 as a wholesuch kind of action is not acceptable to Myanmar as it is not with harmony with the situation on the ground and our national circumstances."

Ambassador Lynn added that displaced Rohingya Muslims have been returning to their homes and that the government of Mynamar is cooperating with international humanitarian partners.

Aid reaches thousands of Yemenis on front line

Thousands of Yemenis displaced by some of the worst fighting during the course of the two-year conflict have been reached by humanitarians after intensive negotiations, the UN said on Friday.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, said that aid deliveries began at the start of the week to Mokha in western Taizz governorate.

Fighting there has displaced nearly 50,000 people in the last six weeks: part of a wider conflict between the government of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and Houthi opposition forces.

To date, it's estimated that well over 13,000 civilians have been killed or injured since March 2014.

Here's UNHCR spokesperson Matthew Saltmarsh:

"Humanitarian access to Mokha has been particularly challenging owing to the ongoing clashes and movement restrictions imposed by the warring partiesour field teams went on missions to Mokha this week and they started distributions on Monday, getting quite close to the front linesour field staff are reporting that many of those they interacted with were traumatised and living in desperate conditions, lacking water and sanitation and sharing limited resources with the local communities."

Across Yemen, fighting has displaced more than one in 10 people.

UNHCR says that the overwhelmingly majority are struggling to meet even basic needs, such as sufficient food and shelter.

Amid fears that Yemen is close to famine, the World Food Programme says that it is providing help to seven million people a month - although funding shortfalls mean that it cannot distribute full rations.

End TB campaign focuses on vulnerable communities

New measures have been launched to tackle tuberculosis, the world's top infectious disease killer, UN health experts have announced.

Coinciding with World TB Day on 24 March, the World Health Organization (WHO) initiative aims to help the most vulnerable communities including migrants, refugees, prisoners and minorities.

WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan said that the disease affects poorest people hardest.

And she added that stigma and discrimination prevent them from getting treatment.

Latest data indicates that more than 4.3 million people with TB go undiagnosed or unreported; some receive no care or inadequate assistance.

From now on, WHO wants governments, health workers and others to adopt a more ethical approach to ending TB.

One of its recommendations calls for HIV patients and other key populations to receive the same level of care as other people.

Source: UN News Centre