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Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Ravina Shamdasani

Location: Geneva

1) Ukraine

UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović is in Kharkiv today (Tuesday), meeting local authorities to discuss human rights-related measures that can be taken to help de-escalate tensions in the country. He is also raising with the authorities the allegations regarding human rights violations, and meeting with a range of pro-Russian as well as pro-Ukrainian civil society representatives.

Mr. Šimonović is in Ukraine to stress the paramount importance of ensuring respect for international human rights laws and standards during these difficult times. He is assessing the human rights situation in the region, calling for respect for human rights and discussing options for the UN and international partners to assist in strengthening capacity on the ground where necessary.

Mr. Šimonović has met the Acting Foreign Minister, the Ombudsperson, human rights defenders, the diplomatic community and the various UN agencies working in Kiev. He is due to hold further high-level meetings in Kiev on Friday.

The Assistant Secretary-General plans to travel to Crimea tomorrow (Wednesday) and Lviv (Thursday) and will hold a press conference at 12pm on Friday, 14 March 2014, in Kiev.

2) Sudan (Darfur)

We are deeply concerned about the situation in Darfur, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has this morning issued a press release warning that civilians in South Darfur have been bearing the brunt of recent attacks. According to witnesses, these groups have attacked some 45 villages in the Um Gunya area, approximately 50 km south of Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state, since the end of February. While it is difficult to ascertain exact numbers and investigations are ongoing, the UNAMID Human Rights Section has so far counted 95 people who have been killed. The number may increase. An estimated 50,000 civilians have been displaced amid looting and arson and have sought refuge in two camps for internally displaced people (IDPs) near Nyala. The camps already had close to 200,000 IDPs before the attacks.

Pillay has urged the authorities to protect civilians and hold to account those who have committed grave breaches of human rights and humanitarian laws.

ENDS

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