Elections in Colombia, Refugee Day, sleeping sickness… Monday’s news

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Elections in Colombia reflect “the strength of democracy”, says the UN

The spokesperson for the UN Secretary General celebrated that the elections in Colombia were held in a “mostly peaceful” manner, reflecting “the strength of democracy in the country”.

Gustavo Petro He was elected this Sunday in the second round as the next president of the republic. Senator Petro, a former guerrilla member of the demobilized M-19 and former mayor of Bogotá, will govern from August 7 for the period 2022-2026, as successor to Iván Duque.

the community leader France Marquez She will be the vice president, becoming the first Afro-descendant woman to hold the position.

“We can only welcome what has been a largely peaceful election in Colombia, reflecting the strength of Colombian democracy and the progress made so far,” said the spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric, announcing that the Secretary-General will issue a announcement in the next few hours.

World leaders remain unable or unwilling to resolve the conflicts and crises that have forced a record number of people to flee their homes. hundred million peoplesaid the High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.

The war in Ukraine, as well as emergencies in places like Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Myanmar, Nigeria, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have contributed to this unprecedented figure.

In his World Refugee Day message, Grandi explained that more people are already being forced to flee than are able to return home or resettle in a third country.

“The world has to choose between joining forces to reverse the trend of persecution, violence and wars, or accepting that the 21st century legacy it will be the incessant forced displacement. We know what the correct and sensible option is,” Grandi said.

For its part, the World Food Program said that lack of funds will soon force them to make new cuts in food rations for refugees.

The agency has already had to cut rations by up to 50% for three-quarters of the refugees it supports in East Africa, with those living in Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda hardest hit.

The trend to militarize the response to social protests is leading to an escalation of violence and human rights abuses, a UN expert has said.

Governments around the world are deploying the military to suppress peaceful protests, while using military courts to prosecute protesters, said Clément N. Voule, UN special rapporteur on the right to peaceful assembly and association, in a report submitted to the Human Rights Council.

The rapporteur warned that this approach is leading to an escalation of violence and tensions, human rights abuses and an increase in impunity.

“Militarized policing of protests has a particularly intimidating effect on female protesters, who sometimes face sexual abuse as a weapon to silence them,” Voule said.

The report notes that the emergency measures adopted by states to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic have added another layer of restrictions to suppress dissent.

The special rapporteur urged states to engage with protesters, listen to their concerns and address the root causes of crises.

Equatorial Guinea manages to eliminate sleeping sickness

Equatorial Guinea has managed to eliminate African human trypanosomiasis, also known as “sleeping sickness”, becoming the fifth African country to do soThe World Health Organization (WHO) announced today.

Sleeping sickness is caused by parasites transmitted by infected tsetse flies and is endemic in 36 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Without treatment, the disease is considered fatal.

The overall incidence of the Gambian form of the disease, which accounts for 95% of reported cases, has been greatly reduced in this century. In 2021, 750 cases were reported in eleven endemic countries, representing a 95% reduction in the number of cases compared to the 2001 figure (26,095 cases).

Equatorial Guinea joins Benin, Ivory Coast, Togo and Uganda in the list of countries that have managed to eliminate the disease.

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