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World News in Brief: Griffiths demands end to ‘ruinous’ Sudan conflict, Ukraine-Russia prisoner exchange, Iran bombings latest

Continuing mass displacement is also threatening to fuel the rapid spread of cholera there, Mr. Griffiths warned.The UN rights chief’s condemnation echoed that of the UN Secretary-General following reports of the bloodbath in Kerman city, as crowds gathered to remember and honour former top general Qasem Soleimani who was killed in 2020 in a US drone strike.The UN chief on Thursday welcomed the biggest prisoner of war exchange between Russia and Ukraine since Moscow began its full-scale invasion almost two years ago.

‘Horrific abuses’

The Russian ministry of defence said in a statement that 248 of its soldiers had been released while President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted that a total of 230 Ukrainians had been returned home, of whom six were civilians.António Guterres said in a statement released by his Spokesperson that he commended the efforts by both countries, together with the “third-party facilitation by the United Arab Emirates that contributed to this positive development.”There have been dozens of prisoner exchanges with more than 2,800 Ukrainian prisoners returned and at least 1,000 Russians, according to news reports.ISIL, a Sunni extremist group which regards other Muslims as apostates, claimed responsibility in a statement on Thursday for the deadly bombings in Iran, a majority Shiite country.The underlined the need to hold perpetrators to account including the “organizers, financiers, and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism accountable and bring them to justice.”

Guterres welcomes major Russia-Ukraine prisoner exchange

The UN Emergency Relief Coordinator said in a statement that as the conflict continues to spread “human suffering is deepening, humanitarian access is shrinking and hope is dwindling.”The UN’s top human rights official Volker Türk has expressed shock at a deadly terror attack now claimed by ISIL that killed scores of people taking part in a public commemoration event in the south of Iran on Wednesday.“The war has unleashed the world’s largest displacement crisis, uprooting the lives of seven million people.” It’s essential now to protect civilians, facilitate humanitarian access and end the fighting, he concluded.He said 25 million Sudanese would need help through this year but intensifying fighting may cut many off from lifesaving aid.Mr. Türk said in a social media post on X that those responsible for the double bombing near the tomb of a former top general “must be held to account, in accordance with international standards”.He said a grim turning point between government troops and their rival RSF militia has been reached with the recent fighting in Aj Jazirah state, the country’s breadbasket. More than 500,000 Sudanese civilians have fled from the state capital region, “long a place of refuge for those uprooted from clashes elsewhere.”The last reported exchange took place in August, when 22 Ukrainian soldiers were released.Eighty-four people including three children were reportedly killed when the bombs were detonated near the General’s tomb.

Rights chief expresses shock over Iran bombings

“We remember each and every one of our people”, he wrote on X, “and we must return all of them.”
He said the same accounts of widespread rights violations and “horrific abuses” as in the capital Khartoum, Darfur and Kordofan, earlier in the conflict, were afflicting Wad Medani.Council members “reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.”“Deliveries across conflict lines have ground to a halt”, he warned, which the violence is also threatening regional stability.In response to the latest release, the statement from the UN chief said he hoped that this “important step” would be followed by additional exchanges, “and by other de-escalation efforts.”

Security Council condemns ‘reprehensible act’

Furthermore, he warned that the fighting there – and looting of agency warehouses and supplies across what is a humanitarian hub – “is a body blow to our efforts to deliver food, water, healthcare and other critical aid.”The members of the Security Council issued a statement on Thursday strongly condemning “the cowardly terrorist attack” in the city of Kerman.The prisoner release was announced on Wednesday and was the first to take place for months.Ambassadors expressed their deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, wishing a speedy and full recovery to those who were injured. 


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