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UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein

Russia’s diplomatic mission in Geneva reportedly has confirmed that the United Nations’ human rights office in Moscow is being shut down – a development the UN's top rights official feared would happen.

A report on March 12 by Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency said the Russian diplomatic mission in Geneva confirmed a decision was made to close the mission in Moscow of the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

There was no immediate comment from the OHCHR about the report, which comes in the midst of a growing crackdown in Russia against rights activists, independent journalists, and public debate.

Russian ambassador Aleksei Borodavkin was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying the OHCHR has helped to create human rights institutions in Russia and "we do not see anything extraordinary" about the Moscow office being closed.

On March 10, UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein expressed concern about “signals received” from the Kremlin that Russia intended to close the OHCHR’s Moscow office.

Based on reporting by AP, RIA Novosti, and BBC

The New York Times is reporting that Islamic State radicals are using contraception to ensure enslaved women do not become pregnant and can be passed among its fighters as sex slaves.

The report released on March 12 adds to other mounting evidence of organized, wide-scale sexual crimes being committed by the extremist group as it tries to organize a religious state in captured territories in Syria and Iraq.

The newspaper interviewed more than three dozen Yazidi women who escaped from the militant group.

The paper cited a gynecologist who examined the women and found only a small percentage had become pregnant during their enslavement.

Thousands of Yazidis were captured by Islamic State militants when they overran northern Iraq; the group considers Yazidis to be devil-worshippers.

The United Nations and human rights groups have accused the Islamic State of the systematic abduction and rape of thousands of women and girls as young as 12.

Many have been given to fighters as a reward or sold as sex slaves.

Based on reporting by The New York Times and Reuters

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