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News in Brief 31 January 2023 |


This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.

Mali: rights experts call for probe into Wagner mercenaries’ alleged crimes

Top UN-appointed independent rights experts on Tuesday called on the authorities in Mali to launch an immediate probe into the mass execution of civilians last year, allegedly by Government forces and the Russian-based private military contractor, the Wagner Group.

The rights experts – who include the UN Working Group on Mercenaries – said that a “climate of terror and complete impunity” surrounds Wagner’s activities in the northwest African nation.

Over the course of several days in late March 2022, the rights experts said they received reports that Malian armed forces and Wagner Group personnel “executed several hundred people, who had been rounded up in Moura, a village in central Mali”.

In addition to that atrocity, the experts said that there were also persistent and credible accounts of multiple serious rights violations committed against mainly ethnic Peuhl individuals.

These include torture, rape, pillaging, arbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances.

Amid increase in dangerous Rohingya boat journeys, IOM boosts support

UN migration agency IOM on Tuesday urged Southeast Asian nations to step up support for Rohingya refugees who are risking their lives in growing numbers on dangerous boat journeys across the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal.

In an alert, the International Organization for Migration said that arrivals to Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand increased exponentially in 2022, and that the trend shows no signs of stopping.

Nearly 300 ethnic Rohingya arrived on 23 January alone, said IOM, which has scaled up its operations to provide vital humanitarian assistance.

In Indonesia, where most of the arrivals have been recorded, IOM is working with the government and partners to provide basic services and temporary shelters.

In Thailand, the UN agency has organized healthcare for the arrivals and promoted alternatives to detention for migrant children and mothers.

In Malaysia, IOM’s cash-based rental assistance programme has been expanded, in response to the constant threat of eviction that Rohingya refugees face.

Bangladesh urged to tackle migrant recruitment ‘middlemen’ scourge

To Bangladesh, where the authorities have been urged to do more to prevent migrant workers from exploitation by unscrupulous middlemen.

Felipe González Morales, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of migrants, said that low-skilled workers – and in particular women – were at highest risk of harm when they are recruited as domestic workers, often in the Middle East.

“They are often poor, lack education and (are) without access to information that can help inform their decisions,” Mr. Morales said, as he warned that middlemen often charge exorbitant recruitment costs that are difficult to reimburse.

The rights expert’s recommendations included a call to the Bangladeshi Government to protect the migrant workers “at all stages of migration” – before they leave Bangladesh, when they’re employed abroad and when they get home.

The Special Rapporteur, who reports to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, also urged countries of destination to investigate and sanction all abusers of Bangladeshi migrant workers.

Daniel Johnson, UN News.


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