Millions face starvation in the Congo
The head of the UN food agency has appealed for aid to avert a humanitarian crisis in the conflict-wracked DR Congo province of Kasai, where more than three million people were now at risk of starvation.
David Beasey warned that hundreds of thousands of children could die in the coming months if aid was not delivered.
Violence flared in August 2016 after the death of a local leader during clashes with security forces, which has spread to five provinces. Both security forces and the militias have been accused of gross human rights violations.
More than 3,000 people have been killed and the UN has discovered dozens of mass graves in the area. It has forced 1.5 million people from their homes, most of them children.
Ibrahim Halawa released from Egyptian prison
Ibrahim Halawa, an Irish-Egyptian who was imprisoned in Egypt for four years, returned to Dublin this week after a court acquitted him of all charges last month.
Halawa, from Firhouse in South Dublin, was arrested in August 2013 along with hundreds of others in Cairo during a mass demonstration against the military ousting of Egypt’s first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi.
Despite being only 17 years old at the time, he was detained for four years pending his trial, which had been adjourned over 30 times. He also faced torture whilst being moved to several prisons since his detention.
Rohingya girls raped while fleeing Myanmar genocide
Dozens of Rohingya Muslim girls under the age of ten have been sexually assaulted while fleeing the ongoing genocide by the Myanmar army, a rights group has confirmed.
“Médecins Sans Frontières” (MSF) reported that Rohingya girls, who have successfully escaped violence in Myanmar, are receiving treatment for rape in refugee camps on the Bangladesh border.
The organisation pointed out that more than half the girls it has treated after sexual assaults are under the age of 18.
Of the survivors who come to the clinic for treatment relating to rape, “about 50% are aged 18 or under, including one girl who was nine years old and several others under the age of 10”, an MSF spokesperson told The Guardian.
Protests grip Barcelona
A reported 300,000 people are attending a rally for Spanish unity in Barcelona after Catalonia was stripped of its autonomy for declaring independence.
Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont was dismissed as Spain’s central government took control of Catalan institutions.
Spain has been gripped by a constitutional crisis since a referendum, organised by Mr Puigdemont’s separatist government, was held earlier this month in defiance of a ruling by the Constitutional Court, which declared it illegal.
The Catalan government said that of the 43% of potential voters who took part, 90% were in favour of independence.