Military escalation in Yemen “not the solution”: UN chief
The UN chief António Guterres has called for restraint by the warring parties in Yemen, stressing that “military escalation is not part of the solution”.
Monday marks the third anniversary of the intervention by a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen’s bloody conflict; a war in which a child dies every 10 minutes from preventable disease, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
UNICEF said that the past seven years of conflict in Yemen and Syria would go down in history as an “unprecedented war on children” and a “vicious race to the lowest point of horror”.
The Secretary-General strongly condemned the launch of a series of missiles from Yemen on Sunday, launched by Houthi rebels towards cities in Saudi Arabia, as another attack on civilians.
More from UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq.
“The Secretary-General calls for restraint amid mounting tensions and stresses that military escalation is not the solution. He urges all parties to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure against attack.”
UN “stepping up efforts” for civilians around Syria’s Afrin district
Aid efforts to address the needs of civilians forced to leave their homes due to fighting around the Syrian city of Afrin are being stepped up, said the UN on Monday.
Ongoing fighting involving Turkish and Syrian opposition fighters, who’ve been battling Syrian Kurdish troops, has caused displacement, death and injury around the northern enclave.
On Sunday, an inter-agency convoy to Al Refaat delivered food and health items for around 50,000 who fled in recent weeks, with nearly 184,000 displaced overall.
Meanwhile, around 55,000 civilians from east Ghouta are being hosted in seven shelters in Rural Damascus.
More details from Farhan Haq again.
“While humanitarians are bravely doing all they can to respond to the needs of people who have been displaced, they also need access to people still trapped inside eastern Ghouta — in Duma in particular, where fighting and besiegement continue. In this regard, the UN calls on all parties to fully respect international humanitarian and human rights law, to guarantee the protection of all civilians in eastern Ghouta and to ensure immediate humanitarian access to those in need.”
Attack at sporting event in Afghanistan which killed at least 15, condemned
An attack on a sporting event in Afghanistan over the weekend which killed at least 15 has been condemned as “morally reprehensible” by the head of the UN Mission in the country, UNAMA.
A bomb detonated inside a vehicle in Lashkargah, the capital of Helmand province, near to a sports stadium, as spectators were leaving a wrestling match, according to news reports.
Around 40 people were injured.
UNAMA chief, Tadamichi Yamamoto, said that such attacks “must immediately stop”, adding that “at a time when Afghans are looking towards much-needed peace, we must not allow such attacks to deter our collective resolve”.
He said the UN stood in solidarity with Afghans, and the attack may amount to a war crime.
“Those who organized and enabled this attack, must be brought to justice and held to account,” he said.