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    HomeHuman RightsWorld News in Brief: Burkina Faso attack, ending AIDS, Syrian child casualties,...

    World News in Brief: Burkina Faso attack, ending AIDS, Syrian child casualties, new UN migration ambassador

    A large number of fighters from the militant Islamist group JNIM attacked a military base, homes, and a camp for displaced people in the city of Djibo, on Sunday.

    At least 40 people were killed and more than 42 injured. The attackers also set fire to 20 shops and three sites for displaced people.

    Stop attacking civilians

    “Attacks on civilians are inexcusable and must stop, and those responsible must be held to account following thorough, impartial and independent investigations by the authorities,” OHCHR Spokesperson Seif Magango said in a statement.

    He recalled that “deliberately targeting civilians or individuals not taking direct part in hostilities constitutes a war crime.”

    Courtesy of the United States President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)

    Michel Kouakou (left), UNAIDS Country Director Mozambique, and UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima in Maputo, Mozambique in June 2023.

    Support communities that ‘light the way to the end of AIDS’ 

    AIDS can be ended as a public health threat by 2030 but only if governments and donors fully support grassroots communities on the frontlines of the disease. 

    That’s the message from UNAIDS in a report released ahead of World AIDS Day on 1 December, which shows how communities have been the driving force for progress. 

    From the streets to the courtrooms to parliaments, community advocacy has secured groundbreaking changes in policy. 

    Through campaigning, they have opened up access to generic HIV medicines, thus driving down the cost of treatment from $25,000 a year per person in 1995 to less than $70 in many countries. 

    Ready to lead

    UNAIDS recalled that every minute, a life is lost to AIDS. while 4,000 girls and young women become infected with HIV every week.  Out of the nearly 40 million people worldwide living with HIV, more than nine million do not have access to lifesaving treatment.

    Although communities across the world have shown that they are ready, willing and able to lead, they must be properly resourced, said UNAIDS chief Winnie Byanyima. 

    “Too often, communities are treated by decision-makers as problems to be managed, instead of being recognised and supported as leaders,” she said, “Communities are not in the way, they light the way to the end of AIDS.”

    Rise in violations against children caught in Syrian war 

    Children continue to suffer from the long-term consequences of the war in Syria, with a marked increase in violations against them, a new UN report on children and armed conflict has revealed.

    The report covers the period from July 2020 to September 2022. A total of 5,219 grave violations against 5,073 children were verified, including killing, maiming, abduction and recruitment and use in fighting.

    Recruited into combat

    This represents a 10 per cent increase over the previous reporting period, though the actual number is likely to be higher due to access restrictions and insecurity. 

    Most violations were committed in the northeast and northwest, with armed groups accountable for 65 per cent, while 13 per cent were attributed to Government and pro-Government forces.

    Cases of recruitment and use more than doubled over the previous report, with most children being used in combat roles. Child casualties, which were already high, increased by 30 percent with explosive ordnance being the leading cause of death and injury.

    H.E. Sheikha Hind and Sir Mo Farah unveiled England bench during World Innovation Summit for Health

    Olympian Sir Mo Farah new Goodwill Ambassador for UN migration agency 

    Four-time Olympic champion long distance runner Sir Mo Farah of the United Kingdom has been appointed as the first ever global Goodwill Ambassador for the UN migration agency, IOM

    Mr. Farah, 40, retired from running in September after a long and celebrated career. Last year, he revealed that he had been trafficked as a child from Somalia to the UK. 

    “No child should ever go through what I did; victims of child trafficking are just children. They deserve to be children. They deserve to play and to be kids,” he said.

    Mr. Farah plans to use his position to raise awareness of issues affecting “people on the move”, including protection and trafficking. He will also advocate for the transformative power of sport, especially for women and girls.

    IOM Director General Amy Pope said the UN agency is honoured to have Mr. Farah as its inaugural global Goodwill Ambassador.

    “A champion on and off the track, and a survivor of human trafficking, he brings true dedication, commitment and drive to IOM’s work, helping millions of people on the move and inspiring us all,” she said.   


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