UN chief calls for investigation into peacekeeper killing in CAR
The United Nations is once again mourning the death of one of its peacekeepers.
The blue helmet from Rwanda, who was serving with the UN mission in the Central African Republic, MINUSCA, was killed on Tuesday during a gunfire exchange with armed elements in the capital, Bangui.
Eight others also were injured.
MINUSCA, together with the national forces and police, had launched a joint operation on Sunday to disarm and arrest heavily armed criminal groups.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has condemned the killing of the peacekeeper and the wounding of his colleagues.
Adding that attacks against UN peacekeepers may constitute a war crime, he called on the authorities to investigate the incident and swiftly bring those responsible to justice.
WHO appeals for access to Syrian city following alleged chemical attack
The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for immediate unhindered access to the Syrian city of Douma in the wake of a suspected chemical weapons attack this past weekend.
The UN health agency said its partners report an estimated 500 people there showed signs and symptoms consistent with exposure to toxic chemicals, such as severe irritation of mucous membranes, respiratory failure and disruption to the central nervous system.
WHO added that “more than 70 people sheltering in basements have reportedly died, with 43 of those deaths related to symptoms consistent with exposure to highly toxic chemicals.”
Tarik Jasarevic is a WHO spokesperson in Geneva:
“WHO is asking for access to Douma so we can do a full epidemiological investigation; not only to assess the public health impact but also to provide necessary supplies. Because of the previous reports of use of toxic chemicals in Syria last year, WHO has been working on the preparedness side. We have trained more than 800 Syrian doctors. We have distributed medical supplies, including antidotes for certain nerve agents. We have also provided personal protective equipment and protocols on how to treat patients who have been exposed.”
UNHCR report documents change in ‘Desperate Journeys’ to Europe
Although the number of refugees and migrants reaching Europe has declined, the dangers they face in making this journey have increased in some ways.
That’s according to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) which has published a study showing how refugee movements to the continent are changing.
The Desperate Journeys report found sea arrivals to Italy, mostly from Libya, have “drastically reduced” since July 2017: a decrease that continued into early 2018, with a 74 per cent drop compared to last year.
However, the death rate among those making the crossing has risen during this period: from one in 29 people, to one in 14.
UNHCR has also observed a deterioration in the health of people arriving from Libya in recent months, a development it describes as “deeply worrying.”
The agency said new arrivals are “extremely weak, thin and in general poor health condition.”
Dianne Penn, UN News.