World News in Brief: Nigeria airstrikes condemned, support for Venezuelan migrants and refugees, weapons in Myanmar


Human Rights

Authorities in Nigeria must investigate a string of deadly airstrikes over the past six years and hold those responsible to account, the UN human rights office, OHCHR, said on Wednesday. 

OHCHR issued a statement deploring the latest strike – the fourth since 2017 – which took place in Kaduna state in the north on Tuesday and left at least 80 civilians dead and more than 60 injured.

“While we note that the authorities have termed the civilian deaths as accidental, we call on them to take all feasible steps in future to ensure civilians and civilian infrastructure are protected consistent with Nigeria’s international law obligations,” said Spokesperson Seif Magango. 

Review SOPs 

OHCHR urged the authorities to review rules of engagement and standard operating procedures to ensure that such incidents do not happen again. 

The human rights office was “particularly alarmed by reports that the strike was based on the ‘pattern of activities’ of those at the scene which was wrongly analyzed and misinterpreted,” he said, adding “there are serious concerns as to whether so-called ‘pattern of life’ strikes sufficiently comply with international law.” 

The statement called for the Nigerian authorities to investigate all alleged violations of international law including deaths and injuries from airstrikes. 

Those responsible must be held to account, while victims and their families should receive “adequate reparations”. 

An IOM staff member registers Venezuelan migrants at a temporary accommodation center in Pacaraima, in the north of Brazil.

An IOM staff member registers Venezuelan migrants at a temporary accommodation center in Pacaraima, in the north of Brazil.

Support for migrants and refugees from Venezuela 

At least $1.59 billion will be needed next year to assist three million refugees and migrants from Venezuela and communities in 17 Latin American and Caribbean countries that are hosting them, two UN agencies announced on Wednesday, in an appeal on behalf of aid partners. 

The funding will support access to asylum procedures, migratory regularization activities and socio-economic integration “so that refugees, migrants and host communities can achieve stability and a brighter future.”  

That’s according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) who co-lead the Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela (R4V). 

Pressing needs remain 

Last year, partners provided humanitarian assistance and protection, and implemented socio-economic integration programmes, for more than two million people – Venezuelans and members of host communities. 

However, an R4V assessment found that four million refugees and migrants “still have pressing humanitarian, protection and integration needs” and one in three do not have regular status or the necessary documentation to access decent jobs, healthcare services, housing or education. 

More than 7.7 million Venezuelans have left their homeland and the majority – over 6.5 million – reside in Latin America and the Caribbean.  

Governments and communities across the region continue to provide opportunities for them to settle and rebuild their lives, and over 60 per cent have regularized their status. 

Stem flow of weapons for Myanmar junta, UN expert urges 

Urgent action is needed to save lives amid the intensifying conflict in Myanmar, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the country said on Wednesday.

Tom Andrews called for the international community to take immediate measures to stop the flow of weapons that he said Myanmar’s military government is using to commit probable war crimes and crimes against humanity. 

“Unlike other conflicts where there are calls for more and more weapons, UN Member States can make a critical difference in Myanmar by stopping the flow of weapons to a military junta that is responding to growing losses of territory and troops with indiscriminate attacks on villages,” he said. 

‘No time to waste’ 

Stressing that “there is no time to waste,” he said more than a quarter of a million people have been displaced throughout the country in recent weeks. 

“These developments should lay to rest any notion that the military can act as a stabilising or unifying force,” he said, adding “its relentless attacks and rampant human rights violations are unifying the country in opposition.”  

Mr. Andrews said measures must be taken now to help ground junta jets and helicopter gunships that are attacking villages, schools, hospitals, and camps for displaced persons, and cutting off access to fuel is a key step. 

Special Rapporteurs are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor specific country situations or thematic issues. 

They are not UN staff and do not receive payment for their work.